As the tennis world descended upon New York for the 2023 US Open, the International Tennis Integrity Agency (ITIA) grasped the opportunity to bolster its prevention programme with a special event focused on betting integrity held in Midtown Manhattan.

Joining forces with the International Betting Integrity Association (IBIA) – a leading global integrity body of the regulated betting operators committed to combatting corruption – senior members of the ITIA executive hosted a workshop with a room full of invited guests from the USA’s premier sports leagues and betting operators.

Karen Moorhouse, CEO of the ITIA, kicked off the event with an introduction to the ITIA, with a particular focus on its mission to tackle corruption and prevent integrity issues from evolving at the source.

She said: “With the continued growth of the regulated betting market in the US, it’s really important that we build the foundations with those operators and regulators early on in the development cycle to maintain a strong focus on integrity.

“The partnership with the IBIA is absolutely crucial to the work that we do. The betting alerts that we get through the IBIA from betting companies are often a key piece of intelligence that feeds into investigations into breaches in the sport; but our relationship is much broader than that, we want to work together to educate and support, and ideally prevent breaches of the rules in the first place.”

With backing from tennis’ Grand Slams, the International Tennis Federation, and the WTA and ATP, prevention is at the top of the ITIA’s agenda moving into 2024 and beyond.

The US betting market is a particular focus, but not just because of the country’s status as a Grand Slam nation, as the ITIA’s Director of Intelligence, Nick Iliffe, explains.

He said: “The 2018 repeal of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act [PASPA] has led to rapid expansion of the regulated betting industry in the United States, and so the US is a fast-moving and growing market for us from an integrity perspective.”

The panel of ITIA speakers, which also included Jenni Kennedy, Senior Director, Investigations, and Matt Perry, Senior Manager, Education and Training, discussed the ITIA’s work to combat tennis’ corruption challenges – including the sport’s distinctive scoring system, the global nature of the game, and the volume of tournaments played across the world during any given week.

The ITIA section of the programme was closed out by a corruption case study featuring an American player – who was issued a lifetime ban from the sport, in part, thanks to the IBIA and its industry betting alerts. Meanwhile, the IBIA’s Director of Integrity, Matt Fowler shared future plans to take the Association’s integrity monitoring platform to the next level.

Iliffe, whose department at the ITIA maintains constant dialogue with the IBIA and betting operators to identify potential betting corruption, continued: “We’ve had a number of operators and professional leagues in attendance, talking around our investigation, prevention, and education work. It’s really important to foster those relationships – a good understanding between the ITIA and the IBIA’s operators and vendors allows for constant two-way communication around suspicious matches and betting patterns.”

Khalid Ali, CEO of IBIA, said: “The IBIA is delighted to have been able to deliver this integrity event in partnership with the ITIA, continuing our longstanding collaboration on betting integrity.

“The ITIA is a global leader for the sports sector in this area and has a wealth of knowledge and experience to impart that other sports will undoubtedly find of great benefit. IBIA’s regulated betting operators and sports have a common aim on integrity and the protection of sporting events, and cross-sector partnership working is key to achieving that.” 

For more information on the IBIA’s work to uphold integrity on behalf of the regulated betting industry, visit their website.

Published 07 September 2023 12:00

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