How Sportradar is trying to end illegal betting and gambling in sport

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07 Dec 2020 | 01:00 PM
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Cricket.com staff

How Sportradar is trying to end illegal betting and gambling in sport

During the recently concluded Indian Premier League, Sportradar was roped in by the BCCI to ensure the smooth conduct of the tournament

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Sportradar, a leading supplier of sports integrity solutions and data products has been roped in by the BCCI to ensure the smooth conduct of the ongoing Indian Premier League (IPL) in UAE. Sportradar will work in conjunction with BCCI’s Anti-Corruption Unit (ACU) as it steps up its efforts to curb out the menace of illegal betting and gambling in sport.

The BCCI has been impressed by Sportradar’s wide reach around the world – they keep tabs on close to 300,000 games a year – and decided to rope in the Switzerland-based company to monitor its prestigious event.

“Yes, BCCI has inked a deal with Sportradar for this year’s IPL. They will be working closely with the ACU and offer their integrity services,” an IPL official confirmed the development.

Sportradar’s Integrity Services works with several sports governing bodies, leagues, state authorities, and law enforcement agencies around the world to support the fight against betting-related match-fixing and corruption and are partners with close to 1000 companies in over 80 countries including the NBA, NFL, NHL, FIFA and UEFA.

The company’s “Fraud Detecting System (FDS) monitors odds in the market of over 600 bookmakers and these are of different kinds, from different countries, different regions, including the so-called grey market or the illegal operators. It processes around 5 million data sets per day,” head of Sportradar’s global operations, Tom Mace was quoted as saying.

The FDS is set up to track changes in these odds and the system generates alerts when there is potentially suspicious and unusual movement in the market, which is flagged and then the analysts take over. 

Sportradar’s efforts saw a sharp decline in match-fixing in Football in the Asian region over the last six years. Match-fixing is driven by illegal gambling and in 2018 it was worth $400 billion in Asia.

“Since 2013, we have witnessed a significant reduction in the number of match-fixing related incidences,” Benoit Pasquier, AFC General Counsel and Director of Legal Affairs said. “Sportradar has been pivotal in driving the decrease in overall figures for illicit activity. From 2016 we’ve witnessed a decline in match-fixing across Asia by 21% and with our efforts in tandem with Sportradar, the preventive measures we’ve introduced have produced positive result.

A few other examples of Sportradar’s outstanding work in weeding out illegal betting are as follows:

In November, 2016, Ghanaian referee Joseph Lamptey awarded South Africa a penalty against Senegal in a Fifa World Cup qualifier, even though the ball clearly hit defender Kalidou Koulibaly’s knee. A mere four months later, he was banned for life for fixing that match. Both the cases had unusual moments which was spotted by Sportradar.

Mr. Oscar Brodkin, Sportradar’s Director of Intelligence & Investigation said, “With our Fraud Detection System [FDS], we are looking for anomalies in betting patterns to identify if a game has been fixed. It’s very similar to an insider trading unit where you are looking at people who are trying to buy shares or sell shares at an exorbitant rate or a rate that is anomalous to normal behavior. Every time there is an anomalous betting pattern, we provide a report to the federation or the confederation, FIFA, AFC and UEFA are our closest partners to investigate the match at their end.”

Football Association of Thailand president Somyot Poompanmuang revealed that five players and two match officials from the top-flight national league are among 12 people arrested for alleged match-fixing. Police reported that four players from the Navy club and one from Nakhon Ratchasima were allegedly paid up to 200,000 Thai baht ($6,100) to manipulate results.

The FAT and Royal Thai Police used information from data services company Sportradar as part of the investigation after reports of an unusual number of goals being scored in the late stages of the games.

With Sportradar and its own ACU in tow, the BCCI will hope to keep a close eye on unusual activity in a sport which has been often crippled by bookies influencing matches and careers.

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