News Digest

Canadian Gaming Association Signs Memorandum of Understanding with International Betting Integrity Association

Protection of athlete, consumer, sport, and operator integrity is a key priority

The Canadian Gaming Association (CGA) has announced that it has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the International Betting Integrity Association (IBIA). The purpose of the MoU is to provide a framework for cooperation and coordination between IBIA and the CGA on betting and related integrity issues and to protect the Ontario and wider Canadian market, sports, consumers, and regulated betting operators, from corrupt activities.

IBIA is the leading global voice on integrity for the licensed betting industry and represents many of the largest regulated sports betting operators in the world, with its account-based integrity monitoring system covering over US$137bn in betting transactions per annum globally. The association has recently been accredited by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario as an independent integrity monitor; all licensed operators in Ontario will be required to be part of a monitoring system.

Many existing IBIA operators are also members of the CGA, and the two trade associations have agreed to explore and establish cooperative projects and partnership working in areas of mutual interest,” said Khalid Ali, CEO of IBIA. “The CGA and IBIA will be equal partners in those projects, which may involve a wide range of activities, including promoting the commercial and related integrity interests of the two associations’ betting operator members, and establishing a viable regulated betting market with high consumer channeling rates and related consumer, sports, and operator integrity protection measures.

“Protecting the integrity of the betting market in Ontario, and indeed the wider Canadian market, is very important to IBIA and its members. We will be seeking to engage with a wide range of key stakeholders on betting and integrity related issues and see the CGA as a pivotal partner in the achievement of that goal. The CGA has been a driving force behind the evolution of regulated betting in Canada and IBIA views it as a valued and critical partner in the continued development of the sector and in placing sporting and betting integrity at the forefront of that.”    

The recent changes to the Federal Criminal Code to permit single-event sports wagering has introduced new sports betting offerings to Canadians while bringing enhanced regulatory oversight to sports betting in Canada.

Genius Sports and Mid-American Conference Agree to Inaugural Fan Engagement, Official Data, and Integrity Partnership

Genius Sports Limited (Genius Sports), the official data and technology partner that powers the ecosystem connecting sports, betting, and media, has secured a first-of-its-kind official sports data, fan engagement and integrity partnership with the Mid-American Conference (MAC), a National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I Conference that sponsors championships in 24 sports.

As the Exclusive Supplier of Official NCAA Data, Genius Sports will capture, manage, and distribute official MAC statistics, providing the fastest and most reliable feed on thousands of competitions a year. This partnership will help to create more immersive and engaging fan experiences, powered by Genius Sports’ leading data collection and fan engagement solutions. NCAA LiveStats, the NCAA’s official tool for the collection, management, and distribution of official game statistics, will be rolled out for all MAC competitions.

Through its Second Spectrum division, Genius Sports will also provide the MAC with access to its cutting-edge optical data tracking and video augmentation solutions for its Men’s Basketball Championship. In addition, Genius Sports will provide a full suite of customized free-to-play games, live data integrations and dynamic widgets to enable new levels of gamification into the MAC fan experience, converting passive viewers into highly interactive customers.

Genius Sports will provide the MAC with a robust integrity program, helping to maintain the transparency and fairness of its events. Genius Sports will conduct a comprehensive audit of the MAC’s existing integrity procedures while also implementing 24/7 monitoring and a series of educational workshops to MAC players, officials, and athletic departments.

“Recognizing our unique capabilities across data collection, tracking, personalized marketing and more, the MAC has embraced our vision of providing college sports fans with immersive and highly engaging experiences,” said Genius Sports CEO Mark Locke. “Furthermore, the MAC also selected Genius Sports, as one of the most established sports integrity providers in the market, to help ensure its competitions, teams and players are protected against the potential threats of betting-related corruption.”

Match Fixing on the Rise as Global Sports Betting Turnover Surpasses EUR1.45 Trillion for the First Time

The detection of a record number of suspicious matches exposes the serious, ongoing threat match-fixing presents to the integrity of global sport at all levels as the amount of money bet on sports reached record heights in 2021.

This is a key finding of a new report, ”Betting Corruption and Match-fixing in 2021,” prepared by Sportradar Integrity Services, a global supplier of sports integrity solutions and a division of Sportradar, a leading global sports technology company.

Sportradar’s bet-monitoring service, the Universal Fraud Detection System (UFDS), uncovered suspicious activity in 903 matches last year, across 10 sports and in 76 countries worldwide. It is the highest number of suspicious matches recorded in Sportradar Integrity Services’ 17-year history — a 2.4% increase on the previous high of 882 suspicious matches recorded in 2019.

The increase in suspicious activity arose alongside record levels of global sports betting turnover, which Sportradar now estimates at more than EUR1.45 trillion. According to the report, in 2021 approximately EUR165 million was generated in match-fixing betting profit. Organized crime syndicates are funded by revenue generated from betting fraud, which can in turn finance other illicit activities. The overall sum generated through betting corruption last year may even be greater, as this figure does not include any other potential financial schemes such as money laundering.

While the number of suspicious matches detected in 2021 reached a record high, Sportradar underscored its commitment to protecting the integrity of global sport by working with its partners to support 65 sanctions: 46 sporting sanctions, 15 criminal sanctions and four sanctions that were both sporting and criminal. These were delivered in 11 countries across football and tennis, with lifetime bans handed down to eight athletes.

“There is no easy short-term solution to the match-fixing issue, and we’re likely to see similar numbers of suspicious matches in 2022, if not more,” said Andreas Krannich, Managing Director, Sportradar Integrity Services. “As the market has developed, so the threat of match fixing has evolved. Now, would-be corruptors take an increasingly direct approach to match-fixing and betting corruption, with athletes messaged directly via social-media platforms.

“We can take what we observed in 2021 and ask ourselves as fans of sport, what lessons can we learn? At Sportradar, we believe in adopting a progressive approach to integrity protection, through bet monitoring and intelligence gathering. This has been proven to deliver sanctions against those involved in match-fixing. Preventative measures, such as educating athletes and stakeholders, are also crucially important in the long-term fight against match-fixing.”

Other key findings within the report include:

  • Soccer has the highest frequency of suspicious matches at a rate of one in every 201 fixtures. It is followed by esports with one in every 384 and basketball at one in 498.
  • Lower-level competitions in soccer are significantly affected. It emerged that 50% of suspicious cases in domestic leagues came from the third tier or lower, including regional and youth soccer.
  • The months of September and October saw the highest number of suspicious matches detected with 105 and 104, respectively. This corresponds with the start of the traditional soccer season.
  • Sunday is the most common day of the week for suspicious sporting fixtures to occur, accounting for 22.5% of cases, followed by Wednesday at 16.8% and Saturday at 15.6%, reflecting the large number of soccer matches played on these days of the week.
  • Assessing the year ahead, the report forecasts a further increase in the number of suspicious matches set to be detected in 2022.

Falcons’ Calvin Ridley Suspended Through At Least The 2022 Season for Betting on NFL Games In 2021 Season

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has suspended Calvin Ridley of the Atlanta Falcons indefinitely through at least the conclusion of the 2022 season for betting on NFL games in the 2021 season. The activity took place during a five-day period in late November 2021 while Ridley was not with the team and was away from the club’s facility on the non-football illness list.

A league investigation uncovered no evidence indicating any inside information was used or that any game was compromised in any way.  Nor was there evidence suggesting any awareness by coaches, staff, teammates, or other players of his betting activity.

In a letter to Ridley notifying him of his suspension, Commissioner Goodell wrote:

“There is nothing more fundamental to the NFL’s success – and to the reputation of everyone associated with our league – than upholding the integrity of the game. This is the responsibility of every player, coach, owner, game official, and anyone else employed in the league. Your actions put the integrity of the game at risk, threatened to damage public confidence in professional football, and potentially undermined the reputations of your fellow players throughout the NFL.

“For decades, gambling on NFL games has been considered among the most significant violations of league policy warranting the most substantial sanction. In your case, I acknowledge and commend you for your promptly reporting for an interview, and for admitting your actions.”