[toc]The International Olympic Committee and Genius Sports announced a partnership on Thursday to monitor the possible manipulation of its competitions related to sports betting in the 2016 Rio Olympics.
The IOC and Genius Sports will use the latter’s Sport Integrity Monitor (SportIM) service to help protect the integrity of its events.
The move comes just ahead of the start of the Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, which start on August 5 and run through Aug. 21.
The Olympics have been under fire in the run-up for a number of issues, including the preparedness of Rio to host the games, to Russian drug cheats who will still be attending and competing in the games.
What’s covered in the Olympics-SportIM deal?
According to a press release on the deal, “all sports competitions covered by the IOC’s Integrity Betting Intelligence System (IBIS), including the events at the Olympic Games and a range of competitions organised by International Federations are implied in the agreement.”
IBIS already reportedly worked with a large swath of sportsbooks and regulators, but the deal with SportIM should give the IOC even greater insight into sports betting markets.
IOC’s Chief Ethics and Compliance Officer Pâquerette Girard said this on the SportIM deal:
“In 2013, we launched our Intelligence Betting Integrity System to collate alerts and information on match manipulation and, ever since, we have further optimised the mechanism. We have identified responsible organisations that can assist our global effort to prevent corruption and are delighted about our new partnership with Genius Sports.
“They will provide added value by making available their specialist skills, knowledge and technological expertise during the Olympic Games and other major sporting competitions organised by the IFs.”
And Genius Sports CEO Mark Locke:
“We are pleased to partner with the IOC at the Olympic Games Rio 2016 and beyond. The Olympic Games represent the pinnacle of world sport and are the ultimate platform to showcase the values of excellence, friendship and respect upon which sport is built. We look forward to sharing our expertise and intelligence to aid the prevention of match manipulation in order to further safeguard the integrity of these major and extraordinary competitions.”
First used in 2014 for the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, IBIS found no betting irregularity at the time, according to the IOC.
Of course, betting on the Winter Games is far out-paced by summer olympics betting. which has more high-profile sports.
How much Olympic sports betting is there?
In the grand scheme of things, not that much is wagered on the Olympics, compared to sports like soccer and basketball.
Still, one estimate puts worldwide betting handle at $1 billion being wagered, both legally and illegally.
And the last thing the IOC needs is a sports betting scandal on top of any other problems it has. Added help in the form of a third party is a move that makes a lot of sense.
Last year, Nevada moved to allow betting on the Olympics, and sportsbooks are taking wagers this summer with 2016 Olympic betting odds prominently listed.
Increasing attention by sports organizations on integrity
Sports organizations are increasingly paying attention to integrity of their products as it relates to sports betting.
Major League Baseball signed on with Genius Sports this spring to monitor sports betting patterns. Earlier this year, Genius Sports reupped with FIBA, the international basketball organization, on an agreement. Genius also counts the English Premier League and La Liga in soccer among its clients.
Another company in the sports data and sports betting integrity space, SportRadar, also works with a wide range of clients on monitoring of events.
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