International Betting Integrity Assn. Sees Uptick in Suspicious Bets in Europe

Posted on: February 2, 2023, 09:30h. 

Last updated on: February 2, 2023, 10:53h.

The International Betting Integrity Association (IBIA) has delivered an update on the suspicious betting activity it monitored last year. While the figure is low compared to the number of games played, there was an increase in alerts as it continues to grow its footprint and monitor more sporting events.

Wimbledon Tennis match
Tennis players participate in a Wimbledon match. Tennis continues to be at the top of the list for suspicious activity, according to the International Betting Integrity Association. (Image: Unsplash)

The IBIA, which has a number of partnerships with sports organizations and clubs to fight match-fixing and illegal betting, reported 268 alerts for 2022. That’s an increase of 14% from 2019-2021, which averaged 230.

The organization has continued to add new members as sports integrity remains at the front of the industry. At the end of 2021, it brought on IMG Arena and then onboarded another 16 entities in 2022. In total, there are now 45 members from different parts of the world in the IBIA.

Uptick as Membership Grows

The results are proof that the IBIA is making a difference. In the first quarter of last year, there were 48 alerts, followed by 80 in the second and 90 in the third. In the fourth quarter, the IBIA addressed 50 accounts of possible match-fixing.

As has been seen historically, the two biggest offenders were tennis and soccer. Given recent confirmations of widespread match-fixing in countries like Argentina, Spain, and others, this isn’t too surprising.

Europe is still at the center of suspicious betting activity worldwide. It was responsible for almost half of all the alerts, with just 22 coming out of North America. However, 61 countries found themselves on the list.

Some of the alerts resulted in action being taken, while others didn’t support any wrongdoing. The report indicates 15 players, teams, and league officials all received some type of sanction, either from the sport they participated in, or through criminal prosecution.

The IBIA is only the launchpad for closer inspection into sports integrity issues. From there, if warranted, further investigations are conducted, sometimes with the help of law enforcement departments. As a result, over the past five years, the IBIA has forwarded almost 1,225 alerts in more than 20 sports and 102 countries. Soccer and tennis are responsible for the majority of these investigations, receiving 295 and 559 alerts, respectively.

Continuing to Expand

The IBIA continues to find support from the sports betting industry and has expanded its ranks already this year. A couple of weeks ago, it added BetJACK and its parent business, JACK Entertainment, to its roster. Then, at the end of January, the IBIA announced that it added a new partner. It signed Fanatics Betting and Gaming, the online retail sports betting division of the digital sports platform Fanatics.

Only a couple of weeks ago, the Fanatics Sportsbook, in partnership with the Washington Commanders, made headlines. It became the first sportsbook in the category to open inside an NFL stadium with its new operations in Maryland.

Also last month, Simplebet joined the program. The US-based micro-betting company focuses on the B2B side of sports betting and operates in all major sports leagues in the US.