The European Sports Security Association — an international sports betting integrity body — said that it “reported 72 cases of suspicious betting to the relevant authorities” during the third quarter of this year.
The latest sports betting integrity report from ESSA outlines the type of transparency a regulated betting market allows for while simultaneously highlighting the challenges of said market, even as the US moves ever close to a world where sports betting could be more widely legal.
“The figures for this quarter again demonstrate the ongoing threat that faces the regulated betting sector and our sports and regulatory authority partners,” ESSA Secretary General Khalid Ali said in a press release. “ESSA has redoubled its efforts to meet that challenge and invested in a number of key initiatives and activities. Partnership working remains at the heart of that approach.”
Inside the ESSA report on sports betting integrity
ESSA detailed the cases that it reported in Q3. Those cases nearly double the number of reports from the first half of 2017. (The group had flagged 152 cases for all of 2017, Q3 included.)
The breakdown by sport:
- Tennis: 46 cases
- Soccer: 8
- Table tennis: 8
- Basketball: 4
- Badminton: 2
- Snooker: 2
- Volleyball: 2
Last year, ESSA partnered with sports data company Sportradar to attempt to combat match-fixing in tennis.
There are obviously a lot of games and matches played over a three-month span. So while the number may seem high, it’s still a small percentage of total activity in the sports world.
What warrants a sports betting integrity report?
How does ESSA flag a match? More from the assocation:
A betting pattern is deemed unusual or suspicious when it involves unexpected activity with atypical bet sizes or volumes that continue, even after significant price corrections have been made in order to deter such activity in the market.
A betting pattern is only confirmed as suspicious after ESSA has made detailed enquiries with all of its members to eliminate any prospect that the unusual patterns could be for legitimate reasons, such as pricing the market incorrectly.
You can read ESSA’s Q3 report here.
Challenges lie ahead for the US market
The New Jersey sports betting case in the US Supreme Court looms as a potential sea change for regulated betting in the US. A win for New Jersey could open more states to legal sports betting. Currently, only Nevada sports betting is legal under federal law.
Sportradar and fellow sports data company BetGenius already work with bookmakers and many of the major North American pro sports leagues on sports betting integrity.
But the possible widespread of legalization in the US also leads to discussions about how states and potential operators need to be proactive on dealing with integrity issues. States are currently focusing on legalization and possible regulation. But integrity concerns need to be in the fore as well. And discussions should come sooner rather than later.