[toc]Sportradar Integrity Services has signed up to help Norway’s national gaming regulator work to prevent match fixing.
Norway is not a member of the European Union, but is a member of the Council of Europe. It is a signatory to the Council’s Convention on the Manipulation of Sports Competitions, which mandates every member state to establish a National Platform to counter the manipulation of sports competitions.
The Malcolm Convention is a step forward for sports betting integrity
So far, 47 member states of the Council of Europe have adopted the so-called Malcolm Convention.
The Convention aims:
“To prevent, detect, punish and discipline the manipulation of sports competitions, as well as enhance the exchange of information and national and international cooperation between the public authorities concerned, and with sports organisations and sports betting operators.”
Norway’s National Platform is under the control of Lottstift, the Gaming Authority, and Sportradar will be helping the Norwegian team “across a range of the country’s sports and competitions.”
Andreas Krannich, managing director integrity services at Sportradar commented:
“There is now a growing momentum at the highest levels of the European Union and countries in Europe to push match-fixing higher up the list of priorities.
Nowhere is that more clear than in Norway, and we are truly honored that the years we have spent working closely with sporting federations and law enforcement agencies have put us in a position where we can become the partner of choice for National Platforms as they begin finalizing their structures and set ups.
This is an important time for how match fixing is combatted and we remain committed to working with those that are leading the charge”.
Sportradar’s expertise is well-placed for the new services market
Both sports betting operators and national sporting bodies around the world use Sportradar’s services. The Malcolm Convention has created a new market for that expertise, and the deal with Norway may well herald further deals with other national regulators.
Henrik Nordal, senior advisor on the Norwegian National Platform team said:
“We are now at the phase where we are putting all the pieces in place, all the systems and processes and relationships in place that will consolidate our country’s defenses and protect the integrity of our sports. Sportradar’s expertise and tools around detection and intelligence are a crucial part of those defenses and we look forward to working with their specialists over the coming years.”
Sportradar can use the data it gets from monitoring the odds movements at over 550 operators worldwide, both to identify suspicious activity, and apply what it has learned about match fixing indicators to the Norwegian market.
Malta continues to prevent full ratification
The Convention is an excellent way forward for reducing match fixing and ensuring the integrity of sports betting. But Malta is holding up full ratification.
As a gaming regulatory authority, Malta licenses a large number of EU-facing sports betting operators. Malta also agrees that the Convention is a good thing. But it has refused to cooperate because the Convention defines illegal sports betting as:
“Illegal sports betting” means any sports betting activity whose type or operator is not allowed under the applicable law of the jurisdiction where the consumer is located.”
Malta interprets this clause as a threat to its own regulatory business. Under EU treaty law, Malta maintains that a sports betting license issued by the Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) provides authorization for operators to offer online gambling in all EU jurisdictions, unless a member state has a justifiable reason for being exempt from the treaty requirements.
The MGA stated that:
“This definition will effectively render illegal all operators who offer their services via their Malta Gaming Authority licence in other European states.”
Malta cannot sign up to the Convention while it includes this definition.
The European Council requires unanimous approval of treaties before they are adopted. Unless the Council of Europe accepts Malta’s demands, it looks like the Convention will never become treaty law.
Malta-licensed sports betting operators will not then be able to receive the full benefits of the Convention. However, it is probable that the remaining signatories will all implement the provisions under national law.
Whether Malta complies or not, Sportradar will be involved in the largest ever coordinated policy operation to counter match fixing and ensure sports integrity.