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US sports betting stakeholders are following through on their plan to create a national alliance.
On Tuesday, executives from Caesars and MGM became founding members of the new Sports Wagering Integrity Monitoring Association (SWIMA). According to a press release, the organization is:
… designed as a collaborative entity to partner with state and tribal gaming regulators; federal, state and tribal law enforcement; and other various stakeholders to detect and discourage fraud and other illegal or unethical activity related to betting on sporting events.
The nonprofit is the first of its kind in the US, modeling itself after an international organization (ESSA) based in Europe.
Eight US states currently have legal sports betting in some capacity.
In recent months, US stakeholders have expressed an interest in creating something similar to ESSA for the emerging domestic market. The American Gaming Association, for example, mused about the possibilities during the recent Global Gaming Expo.
That has now come to fruition. Here’s more on SWIMA’s mission from the release:
With sports betting being legalized in more and more states, SWIMA’s principal goal is to protect consumers, operators and other stakeholders from potential fraud caused by the unfair manipulation of events on which betting is offered. Reaching this goal requires a multi-jurisdictional approach with operators in different states and tribal jurisdictions sharing information related to unusual or suspicious activity in their sports betting operations within and between different markets and, when appropriate, with gaming regulators and law enforcement.
The group also lays out its two primary goals:
SWIMA is fully funded by its members, requiring no third-party help from leagues, governments or taxpayers.
The founding members of SWIMA appointed the well-qualified George Rover as its Chief Integrity Officer. The former New Jersey Assistant Attorney General and Deputy Director of the NJ Division of Gaming Enforcement will oversee day-to-day operations.
Here are his thoughts from the presser:
“We are excited to roll out the first Integrity Monitoring Association in the United States, ensuring a safe and secure betting environment for consumers across the country. We look forward to partnering with gaming regulators and law enforcement in all states that legalize sports betting to undermine fraud and manipulation and protect the integrity of sports betting.”
Stephen Martino (MGM) and Jan Jones (Caesars) make up the initial SWIMA Board of Trustees. Jones is a former Las Vegas mayor.
The group did not disclose the full list of members, but did indicate that it “include[s] most of the major sports betting operators.” The expectation is that all regulated operators will join over time. Each will hold a seat on the Board of Delegates.
While it appears the AGA is not directly involved, executive Sara Slane offered support in a statement to LSR:
“The formation of [SWIMA] serves as another important milestone toward realizing the benefits of a legal, regulated sports betting market in the United States, which provides robust consumer protection, increased transparency and additional tax revenues for state and local governments.
Today’s announcement comes at a critical time as dozens of states and sovereign tribal nations are poised to pursue legal sports betting in 2019. Moving forward, SWIMA will provide an important hub for all stakeholders to work together, further demonstrating the industry’s commitment to upholding integrity across all facets of a legal, regulated sports betting market.”