The International Betting Integrity Association (IBIA) released its 2020 Integrity Report posting a significant increase in suspicious betting behavior compared to the prior year.
Suspicious Reports Increase YoY
The annual report from IBIA showed a total of 270 suspicious betting alerts, 87 more compared to the 2019 number, representing a 48% increase, but almost equal to the 2017 and 2018 numbers of 266 and 267, respectively.
“2020 was a turbulent year for many sectors including the betting industry, which had to adjust its market offering due to the global sports lockdown. As a result, IBIA focused its integrity monitoring activity to take account of new sports tournaments and competitions that emerged.”Khalid Ali, CEO, IBIA
The spike in reported cases of suspicious betting behavior came mostly from football, where the increase year-over-year was 25%. Besides in football, 14 other sports across 43 different countries generated suspicious reports for the integrity authority. 4 of these sports, tennis, football, table tennis and esports, accounted for 86% of the total number of generated suspicious reports.
“The association is seeking to work with stakeholders to address any potential integrity issues that may be associated with these new events through a range of actions, including promoting a set of standards for the collation of sports data for betting.”Khalid Ali, CEO, IBIA
In October last year, IBIA published a new set of standards that determine the procedure for the collation of sporting event data and partnered with testing agency eCOGRA for the undertaking of independent audits and comparison of results against the new standards.
“Whilst there was an increase in overall alerts from 2019 to 2020, it should be noted that the 2020 cases are consistent with the number of alerts reported in both 2017 and 2018.”Khalid Ali, CEO, IBIA
Criminal and Sporting Sanctions
Tennis behavior led to 98 suspicious alerts and 39 of the matches involved were submitted to the International Tennis Integrity Agency (ITIA) since they were not related to events governed by the main tennis tours, yet some of the players in focus may fall within the scope of ITIA’s Tennis Anti-Corruption Program (TACP).
Some of the high-profile cases of tennis players and officials sanctioned throughout the year included France’s David Rocher, Slovakia’s Dagmara Baskova and Bulgarian siblings Khachatryan.
61 suspicious alerts were generated from football matches, 12 more compared to the 49 cases in 2019, but one country alone, Vietnam, accounted for 10 of these reports.
2020 saw sanctions against 12 teams or players following reports from IBIA regarding suspicious activity on their matches, and in some of those cases there were serious sanctions such as life bans.