Experts share key points of convergence about sports betting risks and the ways to foster cooperation through national and international networks
A cycle came to an end with the presentation last week in Strasbourg of four important projects initiated by the European Commission (DG HOME) to address sports betting risks and the overall fight against competitions manipulations. ProgrammeAfter 18 months of implementation of those projects, the purpose of the gathering was to present the conclusions of each and share key points of convergence. The meeting was facilitated by the Council of Europe (Secretariat of the Convention on the Manipulation of Sports Competitions) in efforts to propose common views out of the four projects.The Council of Europe was in lead of one project, called KCOOS -Keep Crime Out Of Sport, which has proved successful in raising awareness in European countries, in assessing situations region by region and country by country, and in initiating national networks of stakeholders (public authorities, sports organizations, the betting sector).Of notable interest and relevance for GLMS is the project called BetMonitorAlert, which focuses on betting monitoring and alerting systems. It consists in a descriptive and comparative analysis of current existing systems, their stakeholders, their specificities, their efficiency, and paths for improving and mutualizing. Looking at a diversified yet complimentary landscape, a main conclusion of BetMonitorAlert is the need for shared approaches and procedures in the escalation and reporting of irregularities and suspicious betting patterns, in order to better support the launch and proceedings of disciplinary and/or penal enquiries.A positive trend that was unanimously put forward is the progressive set up of national platforms throughout Europe to support the establishment of the provisions of the Convention and facilitate the sharing of knowledge and information. Moreover, it presages the possibility to share information at a transnational level, notably with the Group of Copenhagen which is a network of national platforms brought together by the Convention’s Secretariat. GLMS is keen to invest in this cooperation, and has already regular operational exchanges with national platforms, in particular with the French and Danish coordinators.In Strasbourg, emphasis was also put on the importance of fighting against illegal betting, notably with the project PreCrimBet, which focuses on criminal activities surrounding the development and expansion of illicit sports betting activities as a means to launder money and bypass jurisdictional proceedings. The project showcases the complexity of criminal networks keen to use the gaming industry to serve a rapid evolving e-economy and cybercrime.Another project, called Anti MatchFixing Formula, supported by the Italian Government, focuses on whistle blowing and the development of reporting systems and schemes, in order to ease and simplify access to data. Findings of the four pilot projects include:
- Betting and money laundering-related sports corruption is now one of the main illegal activities of criminal groups within the European Union
- Sport betting has become a significant tool to manipulate sports competitions and the betting market should thus be better supervised by regulations and mechanisms. A stronger attention should be dedicated to fighting illegal betting operators.
- The ratification of the Convention and allowing it to entry into force will provide each country with strengthened legal legitimacy and a real common basis from which to start and/or develop international cooperation.
- The website of the KCOOS Project and joint closing event information can be accessed here.
- BetMonitorAlert project findings can be consulted here.
- PreCrimeBet project findings can be consulted here.
- The text of the Council of Europe Convention on the Manipulation of Sport Competitions can be accessed here.