ESSA flags 53 cases of suspicious betting on matches

By Robert Simmons
Sports betting integrity watchdog ESSA has released its report for the second quarter of 2017, flagging a total of 53 cases of suspicious betting related to competitive sporting events, down 27% year on year from the same period in 2016.

Of those matches identified thirty-one were on tennis, fifteen involved football matches, five basketball games were flagged and one in both handball and volleyball fixtures.

Three of the tennis matches flagged as having suspicious betting patterns took place at this year’s Wimbledon championships, including one in the main championship draw and two matches in the qualifying stages. One game at the French Open tournament was identified, along with four others at tour events on the ATP and WTA tennis circuits.

All flagged tennis matches will now be investigated by ESSA’s Tennis Integrity Unit to see if there is any potential match fixing taking place.

A betting pattern is deemed unusual or suspicious by ESSA when it involves unexpected activity with a typical bet sizes or volumes that continue, even after significant price corrections have been made in order to deter such activity in the market.

These patterns are only confirmed as suspicious after the watchdog has made enquiries with all of its members and has eliminated the possibility that these unusual betting patterns could be legitimate errors, such as pricing the betting market incorrectly.

In a statement released with the figures, ESSA secretary general Khalid Ali said: “Betting integrity issues continue to be a key feature of stakeholder discussions at national and international levels.

To that end, ESSA has been asked by the Council of Europe (CoE) to deliver a report on behalf of the private sports betting industry highlighting the challenges facing regulated operators to feed into the CoE’s ongoing efforts to ratify the match-fixing Convention and implement international standards.

The principal focus of the report will be the information exchange between operators, sports and national platforms and how to identify risk and improve risk management.”


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