Published
OnlineSports Betting

Why the gambling industry deserves more credit for its work with tennis

It was surprising to see such little reaction to the fact suspicious match alerts in tennis have fallen to their lowest levels since the Tennis Integrity Unit (TIU) began reporting the figures in 2015, according to its 2019 report. In total, there were 138 suspicious matches reported last year, with none at Grand Slam level, three from the men’s ATP Tour and five from the women’s WTA Tour.

Tennis

This is welcome news for both tennis, but also of course, the gambling industry. Had the number of alerts risen, then you can imagine how sections of the press would have swarmed over the report to pick it apart and somehow blame regulated gambling for potential match-fixing.

The figures are staggering: the number of alerts totals more than 100 less than any other year since and including 2015, and while it does not necessarily mean less matches are being fixed - the statistics are only alerts, nothing more - it points to a positive trend. The alerts are provided through memorandums of understanding with regulated betting operators and data companies and it shows how such co-operation can be a real force for good.

The reverse is also true: the high numbers in the previous years were not necessarily a negative. High numbers show potential issues are being highlighted and put into a position where they can be addressed. Perhaps after four years, it was inevitable there would be a drop in alerts, as more work is done.

This is also supported by the number of players and officials that were subject to sanctions, which was actually at its highest number (26) since the reports began, although the numbers are somewhat skewed, with players’ provisional suspensions and actual suspensions sometimes listed in different years.

Reading between the lines, it is possible that a higher number of players being sanctioned, yet lower levels of alerts, could indicate that betting companies and the bodies within the sport are becoming more efficient at determining the signs of suspicious activity. It could also be that people are being put off the idea of trying to fix a match or part of a result: past convictions of players like Nicolás Kicker, a top-100 player, and Oliver Anderson, a junior Grand Slam champion, would have sent shockwaves through the sport.

It is no secret a lot of betting companies co-operate with the sport when it comes to integrity, particularly when a strange amount of bets come rushing in on a particular match, so it could just point to people not using legal or mainstream/regulated markets to avoid risk.

But the TIU's report is not a one-off. Promisingly, the International Betting Integrity Association’s most recent report, for Q3 2019, reports similar findings. The report says there were 30 tennis alerts reported in that quarter, which represented a 40% reduction on the 50 tennis alerts reported in Q3 2018. The report also says the fall in tennis alerts was predominantly caused by a reduction in alerts at the ITF Tour level.

More convictions and fewer alerts point towards the problem diminishing, or at the very worst being driven away from legal markets. For the betting industry, this is very good news. Yes, fixing is always going to be an issue, especially in unregulated gambling markets, but that is more of a problem for tennis authorities to work out how to combat. From the gambling industry's side, it is doing something helpful, but is of course unlikely to be given credit for this by mainstream media.

The co-operation between betting companies and the sporting bodies are producing good results and this is real evidence of this, and all involved should be satisfied. The threat of fixing is not over though, and unless prize money rises staggeringly at the lower levels, then I don’t think it ever will be, but in terms of results, this is a pretty good set.

 

Premium+ Connections
Premium
 
Premium
 
Premium
 
Premium
 
Premium
 
Premium
 
Premium
 
Premium
 
Premium
 
Premium
 
Premium
 
Premium
 
 
 
Premium
 
Premium Connections
Consultancy
Executive Profiles
Flutter
Galaxy Gaming
Churchill Downs Incorporated
Oddsworks
Follow Us

Global Gaming Awards Asia-Pacific: Going live

The Global Gaming Awards Asia-Pacific are set for their firs...

Preview: SiGMA Asia 2024

SiGMA’s annual Asia summit comes back to Manila – signif...

Company profile: Praxis Tech

Being payments ready in Asia - A call to action for iGaming...