Having leagues on board can be pivotal to US sporting integrity

Sporting integrity and sports wagering were analysed in great depth during the second day of this week’s SBC Digital Summit North America

The GLMS-sponsored panel, Remaining Vigilant to Match Fixing, included some of the key figures in the sector – Art Manteris, VP Sports and Racing Operations at Station Casinos LLC; Oliver Lamb, Head Sportsbook Controller at Kambi; and Matthew Holt, President of US Integrity. Moderating proceedings was GLMS President Ludovico Calvi.

During the panel session, the group discussed cooperation between both public and private organisations and the essential role it plays in protecting major sports leagues, the players and bettors. 

Calvi asked panel members about how the industry will approach integrity post-COVID, and if there will be increased vigilance and closer working practices. Holt responded: “The first approach that we’ve seen and proved in the United States is that companies like ours work with regulators, operators and the teams and leagues etc. And communication with all the stakeholders is very important.

“Having the leagues on board and sharing data and information that they have as well as having the operators onboard and sharing data and information they have and then the regulators having access to better information and more data than they’ve ever had with the ability to do their own investigations – that’s really important.

“And the other thing is mandates – regulatory mandates. If you don’t make operators do something or you don’t make leagues do something or communicate they’re not going to do it to the fullest extent. We’ve seen that through history. It’s a cost issue. It’s a time and resource issue. So putting in strong, fundamental regulatory mandates that mandate that the operators work with approved, licensed independent integrity providers is so important.”

The discussion moved on to college sports and the challenge that young athletes face as integrity risks being compromised in line with the growth of sports wagering. Manteris answered: “The younger athletes and primarily the unpaid athletes are the ones that are susceptible. Where there have been problems in the past it has been with the amateur athletes and unpaid athletes and of course there was a problem with an NBA official in the early 2000s. But that is not a shock to me. It’s the lowest paid officials and the unpaid amateur athletes where there is any vulnerability.”

Rover, meanwhile, was keen to impress upon delegates the risks posed by misappropriated insider information. “I think in the US a lot of what’s going on with integrity issues revolves more around insider information – whether someone’s injured, whether someone’s going to be suspended and that information being leaked out intentionally or unintentionally.

“Universities at the beginning of the season – they need to speak to the players. Teams need to speak to the players. Conferences need to speak to the players and let them know that being aware of information about whether or not your quarterback is injured is actually a piece of information that other people want to use in an illegal way.”

Driving home the risks to players, Lamb addressed the panel: “The sad finale of all of this kind of thing often is when there is an integrity case like that; often when it comes to sanctioning somebody it’s not the match fixer that bears the brunt. It’s the player. It’s often the kid that suffers while the match fixer walks away with his money and the person that suffers is the college player. And they’re the ones who need to be aware of that.”  

SBC Digital Summit North America is running this week until July 16. To register or obtain more information visit the event’s event’s official website.