ESSA data shows match-fixing still a danger to football integrity and a threat to esports

By Paul Nicholson

February 14 – Sports betting integrity body ESSA reported 267 match-fixing alerts to the relevant sporting and/or regulatory authorities for investigation in 2018, 83 of those cases were reported in the last quarter.

While the overall number of cases remained on a par with 2017 (266 cases) there were a number of continuing trends that emerged, not least of which is that football and tennis account for 86% of all alerts, and geograohically Europe has remained the most susceptible to match fixers with 55% of cases (148 in total).

Behind Europe, by a significant distance, is Asia, with 48 cases, followed by Africa (26), South America (23) and North America (15).

An emerging trend has been the number of esports cases raising suspicious betting patterns. Also noted in the ESSA annual report was a spread in the number of sports that were attracting match-fixers – up from 11 in 2017 to 13 in 2018.

Khalid Ali, ESSA Secretary General, said: “ESSA’s alerts remain an important barometer for gauging betting related corruption globally. Outside of tennis and football, we are beginning to see new threats emerging such as the increased number of alerts on eSports.

“Given the multi-jurisdictional nature of match-fixing, regulators around the world are now beginning to make it a requirement for operators to be part of an international monitoring system, which we fully support.”

The four-year period 2015- 18 has now seen the association report 763 alerts across 15 different sports.

The ESSA represents 27 of the world’s biggest regulated sports betting operators, serving over 40 million consumers in the EU alone, monitoring betting markets and suspicious betting patterns on their platforms. To this end the number of reported match-fixing issues is going to be significantly less than the actual global volume of match-fixing which takes place across more than 500 online betting sites, often in unregulated markets. However, the data does show that match-fixing is still a major issue for sport and football, and that it is evolving and growing into other sports.

ESSA members include: 888sport, ABB, Bet-at-Home, Betclic, Betdaq, Betfred, Betsson, BetStars, BetVictor, Betway, bet365, bwin, Cashpoint, Expekt, Fonbet, Gamesys, Interwetten, Ladbrokes Coral, Paddy Power Betfair, Perform (Affiliate) Sky Bet, Sportingbet, Sporting Index, Sportium, Stanleybet, Stoiximan, Unibet and William Hill.

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