ESSA launches international project addressing match-fixing

 An international project to address match-fixing in sport kicked off today with ESSA, the body representing most of the world’s largest regulated betting firms, amongst the key stakeholders participating in the EU funded initiative that is being led by the Council of Europe. Other key stakeholders involved in the Kick Crime Out of Sport (KCOOS) project include INTERPOL, the International Olympic Committee and the British and French regulatory authorities.

Meeting in Brussels, stakeholders discussed the scope of the project that will seek to deliver practical resources such as the development of a Handbook on Good Practices. There will also be a number of regional events worldwide to gather information and explore effective legislative models and tools to deal with match-fixing, such as player education and information exchange.

“The project marks another important milestone in the development of an effective and coordinated international collaboration between key stakeholders that are intent on driving criminals out of sport. Responsible regulated betting operators want nothing else than sport to be free from manipulation and will do whatever we can to help to achieve that,” said Khalid Ali, Secretary General of ESSA.

The 18-month project was approved following the Council of Europe’s successful bid to a European Commission call for proposals on “New integrated mechanisms for cooperation between public and private actors to identify sports betting risks”. It primarily aims to raise awareness on match-fixing and to promote the Council of Europe Convention on the Manipulation of Sports Competitions by:

· Assisting countries in implementing the convention nationally, including transposition of the Convention into national legislation;

· Gathering information on the current status in the fight against match fixing and sports betting regulations and to build a network of national contacts;

· Offering practical assistance and to facilitate the exchange of good practices among countries through regional seminars, study visits and expert missions; and

·  Assisting with the setting up of national platforms, regulatory structures and other supporting structures and to strengthen the institutional capacity of relevant authorities.

ESSA is a key player in the fight against betting related match-fixing and represents the regulated betting sector at national and international match-fixing policy forums, holding positions on working groups at the European Commission, Council of Europe and the International Olympic Committee (IOC). ESSA represents many of the world’s biggest regulated sports betting operators, serving over 40 million consumers in the EU alone. Concerned regulated bookmakers created ESSA in 2005 to monitor betting markets and alert sporting bodies and national regulators to suspicious betting patterns. The goal was and is to protect consumers from potential fraud caused by manipulating sporting events. ESSA helps to combat this with evidence-based intelligence it provides to sporting bodies and regulators.

ESSA members include: the ABB, Betclic, Bet-at-Home, Betsson, Bet365, BetVictor, Betway, bwinparty, Digibet, Expekt, the Hong Kong Jockey Club, Interwetten, Ladbrokes, Paddy Power, Sky Bet, Stanleybet, Unibet and William Hill.