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Asian unregulated gaming operators greatest threat to sports integrity: Report


The greatest threat to sports integrity persists from unregulated betting operators, especially in Asia, the International Betting Integrity Association (IBIA) says in a recent report.

The IBIA, a prominent advocate for integrity in the licensed sports betting industry, has recently released its 2023 sports betting integrity report, in which it reveals a noteworthy decline in the total number of suspicious sports betting alerts reported throughout the year, dropping to 184 alerts.

This represents a significant decrease of 35 percent compared to the revised 2022 figure of 285 alerts, and falls below the average of 244 annual alerts reported during the period of 2019–2022.

The data provided by IBIA helped identify 74 matches that were compromised, and revealed an increase in the number of clubs, players, and officials who faced sanctions for breaching sports betting regulations. The association now oversees more than $137 billion of global betting turnover annually.

IBIA, suspicious betting, Asian unregulated gaming operators greatest threat to sports integrity

These findings underscore the significance of regulated sports betting operators being mandated to join an international sports integrity monitoring body, a requirement increasingly imposed in well-regulated markets,’ the organisation noted.

Notably, Brazil, which recently introduced this requirement, recorded the third-highest number of suspicious betting alerts (11) in 2023, following the UK and Czech Republic.

Khalid Ali, CEO, IBIA
Khalid Ali, CEO, International Betting Integrity Association

“The decrease in global alert numbers is encouraging, reflecting the effectiveness of our monitoring and alert network in deterring criminal activities. Increased collaboration between IBIA, sports entities, and regulators has proven to be successful,” Khalid Ali, CEO of IBIA, commented on the report’s findings.

“However, we must remain vigilant as the greatest threat to sports integrity persists from unregulated operators, notably in Asia.”

IBIA leverages its global monitoring network to provide data on suspicious betting activity, aiding sports organizations, regulators, policymakers, and law enforcement in investigations and prosecutions.

In 2023, IBIA alerts contributed to the successful sanctioning of 21 clubs, players, and officials, up from 15 in 2022. Notably, tennis accounted for the majority of alerts with 63, followed by 54 alerts in tennis, marking a significant decrease from previous years.

The entity added that the reduction in tennis alerts, along with decreases in table tennis and esports alerts, demonstrates progress in identifying and penalizing match-fixing, sending a strong message about the consequences of engaging in such activities.

A recent Asian Racing Federation (ARF) report showed that higher sports betting taxes lead to increased prices for gamers and ‘inevitably’ drive gamblers to illegal betting markets with better odds but fewer customer safeguards.

Nelson Moura
Nelson Moura
Editor and reporter with 10 years of experience in Greater China, namely Taiwan and Macau, in printed and online media, with a focus on finance, gaming, politics, crime, business and social issues.