Betgenius is defending its integrity protocols following reports of a so-called “ghost game” in Ukraine last week.
The data provider offered customers a data feed from a friendly soccer tournament between four lower-league Ukrainian teams in the so-called Azov Cup.
However, only three matches of the tournament were completed before Genius and its bookmaker partners flagged suspicious betting patterns.
Multiple news outlets since reported the Ukrainian Football Association said those games never happened. The association said they, in fact, were ghost games where the data feed is manipulated for a predetermined result, usually by a rogue scout.
Ghost games or real games?
However, Betgenius dismissed that idea, saying the games were indeed played but were fixed.
Betgenius provided a statement provided to LSR:
“Unfortunately it has come to light that we, along with many of our sportsbook customers, were the victim of fraud. These were not ‘ghost games’ as reported by some media. Our match security protocol requires our statisticians to verify the authenticity of fixtures through audio and visual methods.
“Therefore we can confirm that games did indeed take place, however we now understand that these games were not played in an official capacity and were conducted in a fraudulent manner, likely by a criminal group.”
Genius said the games were scheduled and advertised via official sources as cup fixtures between professional clubs. As such, it employed a local statistician to capture the data from those games.
The company added: “We welcome the opportunity to support the Ukrainian FA and local law enforcement in their investigation of these matches.”
InsideWorldFootball reported the match-fixers were “almost certainly” Belarusian and Turkish.
Match-fixing a growing problem pandemic?
Betting on lower-league sporting contests has been thrust into the spotlight in recent weeks as bookmakers around the world scramble to replace their usual events amid the coronavirus cancellations.
In Sweden, a lower-league game was canceled on Monday after players were bombarded on social media by bettors.
The Stockholm Football Association also issued a fresh warning to players about the increased risk of match-fixing thanks to the new focus on lower-league games.
“Never seen anything like it”
Francesco Baranca, the head of ethics of the Ukrainian Football Association, told German outlet WELT that the level of match-fixing at present was “apocalyptic.”
“I’ve never seen anything like it, ”said Baranca.
Genius confirmed it pared back its menu of betting and data options to protect itself and its partners better.
“Protecting the integrity of sport is central to a fair, transparent and sustainable sports betting ecosystem and Genius Sports are committed to maintaining the highest standards in securing the integrity of sporting events,” the company said.