In the run up to the football World Cup, FIFA has reached out to gambling operators for their cooperation in weeding out match fixing and corruption at the games.
FIFA, who use the Early Warning System (EWS), believe it is an effective solution at monitoring and analysing the international betting markets, but also recognise that the system relies on the assistance of the betting firms to report any suspicious betting activity.
Getting the bookies on-side
Potential illegal patterns are already shared by gambling companies through EWS by way of a secure communications platform, accessed by traders, compliance officers and risk managers.
However the rapid ascent of online betting, in particular the in-play markets, has made the exploitation of games far easier.
Head of EWS at FIFA, Jacek Wojdyla told Gaming Intelligence ; “We can cover the legal market and also the grey market but the black market is a challenging area, which we cannot cover, but match-fixing has been done in legal markets. It is essential to get as much information as possible in these markets”.
“In European jurisdictions the market is quite regulated. It is completely different to Asia. You have risk management, know-your-customer principles...There is a very high level of transparency so less risk of match-fixing but still the legal operators in Europe provide us with irregularities which they see on their accounts”, Wojdyla added.
“The [EWS] system has proved to be very effective. We think we are in a good position for the World Cup… Of course, match-fixing is very difficult to prove but we see on a regular basis, information sent to us, where there is uncertainty about whether a match is a clean match. Every operator can be hit. Some have better internal structures in place and are less vulnerable but every market can be hit by this problem… We want to find more partners prior to the World Cup to make our system even more effective”, he concluded.
400 bookies take a stand
Over four-hundred sports betting operators have already signed up to help combat match-fixing at the World Cup.
FIFA has agreements in place with many regulators, including the Isle of Man Gambling Supervision Commission, Malta’s Lotteries & Gaming Authority, the Gibraltar Gambling Commission and the UK Gambling Commission. However, there are still thousands of operators that are yet to sign-up.
While FIFA doesn't expect much fixing at the World Cup, it is concerned about the largely unregulated Asian betting market, which has historically been the source of much corruption in the past.
With the bill passed this week in the UK to regulate betting on a point of consumption (POC) basis, British betting firms continue to look like a safe-bet.
UK betting companies alone are predicted to £1bn in turnover at this summer’s tournament.