The sports betting industry was worth £38bn in 2008 and is still growing. At the same time, the risks to sport are increasing and there have been several high profile scandals in recent years (e.g. Pakistan cricket team, John Higgins). The problem has been exacerbated by the internet and ‘in-play betting’, the ability to ‘lay to lose’ and the growth in markets for obscure and high risk bets (e.g. the timing of the first no-ball in cricket).
Not only big sports are bet upon. At the 2012 Olympics there was also a market on every single discipline involved.
- In 2010, Rick Parry conducted a comprehensive review into betting integrity on behalf of the Government. This led to the creation of a Sports Betting Intelligence Unit within the Gambling Commission and the establishment of the Sports Betting Group (SBG) – which the Alliance leads.
- National governing bodies (NGBs) are faced with increased costs and pressures to uphold integrity. Integrity can be supported through monitoring, investigation, education and overall risk assessment. Unfortunately, an audit conducted by the SBG showed that many of the smaller and Olympic NGB’s are ill-prepared to deal with the threats.
- The Government intends to close the overseas loophole by requiring all operators taking bets in Britain to be fully licensed by the Gambling Commission and to meet licensing condition 15.1 – a positive step to help uphold integrity.
- SBG is developing a voluntary code of practice to help sports understand and react accordingly to the threats posed by betting.
- SBG will continue tripartite discussions with the Gambling Comission and operators in an effort to resolve key issues for sport, such as determining bet types and contractual obligations.
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