Online U.K.Sportsbooks May Pay for Integrity

Published Wednesday, September 23, 2009 -

Sports governing bodies argue that the potential for match fixing has grown with the advent of internet wagering and offshore gambling companies springing up overnight. In an effort to bring the problem under control the sports minister, in the UK, Gerry Sutcliffe, has set the scene for a debate that could alter the sports betting landscape and have result in big change for bookmakers and governing bodies.

The England and Wales Cricket Board, the Rugby Football Union and the FA, are trying to reform existing regulations with those that are designed to reduce the threat of match-fixing.

They want bookmakers to pay a "betting right" to offer odds on their sport, and that some of that payment be put towards policing the integrity in sports. In an effort to keep everyone happy and not to alienate the gambling industry or the sports lobby Sutcliffe has endeavoured to separate the two issues, while trying to source new money to combat problems with sport wagering.

Sutcliffe has said" The possible threat to the integrity of sport remains an ever-present and complex problem requiring multi-agency solutions." The minister intends to look at the issues "including securing fair contributions from overseas licensed operators towards the costs of regulation" and promises to "look at the existing controls that apply to operators licensed overseas to ensure the rigorous consumer protections introduced by the Gambling Act continue to be upheld".

Bookmakers in the UK say that they already are vigilant about suspicious betting patterns and will continue to be that way. The sportsbooks maintain that the most recent allegations have come to light, because of improved transparency. Attempts to link integrity issues to funding the fight against corruption gets little support from the book makers. A senior executive at one leading bookmaker commented, "It's those that talk about integrity that have no integrity."

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