Olympic stakeholders and the betting industry have signed a statement of intent ahead of the Summer Olympic Games. Yesterday’s seminar saw the International Olympic Committee (IOC), Gambling Commission and various betting interests meet to discuss the possibility of betting corruption at the games. In order to combat it a six point Statement of Intent was signed by four bookmakers (Coral, betfair, Ladbrokes and William Hill) as well as the Regional Gambling Association (RGA), Association of British Bookmakers (ABB), European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA) and European Sports Security Association (ESSA). The six points are set out as follows:
- Offer bets on any Olympic event, with due regard for the integrity of the Games.
- Report all unusual betting patterns detected through our in-house risk management tools and any identified breaches of IOC rules to the UK Gambling Commission’s Sports Betting Integrity Unit, under existing UK regulations.
- Not knowingly take any bets from anyone accredited by the IOC.
- Ensure that senior personnel manage our internal systems and offer a 24-hour reporting service.
- Suspend or void bets if given clear guidance by the Gambling Commission unless directed otherwise by the operator’s own regulator.
- Restrict media comment on integrity to joint statements with the Gambling Commission and the IOC.
According to a release by the RGA, it will also mean signatories in other jurisdictions now report suspicious betting patterns to the Commission. We can only assume this will have to first be reported to the EGBA or ESSA and the length of time it takes will be a crucial factor. Apart from that, much of what has been laid out is simply an update to what would already happen. If suspicious betting patterns are detected, the systems in place will report it straight away. As we heard yesterday from the chair of the meeting, Mike O’Kane, the bookmakers are less worried about the Olympic Games as a betting event. Euro 2012 represents more business for gambling industry firms and ultimately the popularity of the sport presents more risk of match fixing.
It’s no surprise the various authorities are thinking of every eventuality when it comes to the Olympics being the unfettered spectacle everyone is hoping for. We just hope they aren’t ignoring other more realistic threats by focusing attention on possible betting corruption.