Sports betting integrity: US forum highlights need to create robust regulation

October 19 – The US has the opportunity to install a “best in class” integrity framework around betting regulation and match-fixing following the PASPA ruling that opened up the online gambling market across the country.

Much of the discussion at the sports betting integrity forum at the TEAMS ’18 Conference & Expo in Kentucky, USA, focussed on the nuts and bolts of where the regulation should sit at state and/or federal level, but all participants were united in the belief that there needed to be co-operation amongst stakeholders to make the most of the potentially huge opportunity.

Emanuel Macedo de Medeiros, CEO of SIGA, stated: “The discussion about the future of sports betting USA cannot continue to be reduced to how much money it will generate. Nor should it be a tug of war between sports betting operators, regulators and the leagues. The stakes are too high for that!… The U.S. will not have a second opportunity to get this right.”

The message that co-operation was needed to get the best regulatory system for the market and a safe and trusted legal framework was echoed by a number of speakers.

Benjie Cherniak, President, Don Best Sports, said:Let’s get an integrity framework in place. Then we can launch sports betting in the US. The more you bring sports betting out of the black market the better off you are.”

It is the threat of corruption in the betting markets that presents the biggest challenge to the regulators and an opportunity to clean up match-fixing in a market whose sports federations have generally lived close to a state of denial in that regard.

“The US now has the opportunity and a clean slate to install an integrity framework that is ‘best in class’ and gives US sports the utmost protection against match-fixing and betting related corruption,” said Andy Cunningham, Director Global Strategy Integrity Services, Sportradar.

Part of the process will be educational, said Lisa Delpy Neirotti, from George Washington University, which has partnered with SIGA to ensure sports integrity is taught on the curriculum. “There will be a cultural shift in the acceptance of gambling in the US as a result of the repeal of PASPA,” she said.

Significant help for sports federations, sponsors and rights holders, looks set to be available via the SIGA Universal Standards that will launch early next year and which will benchmark and provide a certificate of authority on where a sport is positioned on the integrity pathway.

Affy Sheikh, Head of Integrity Services, Starlizard: “The SIGA Universal Standards need to be brought to the fore. They’re a huge step in the right direction, helping to ensure sports are prepared against a threat of match-fixing and integrity issues that cause them great harm.”

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Insideworldfootball is a ‘Committed Supporter of the Sports Integrity Global Alliance (SIGA)’