UK Sports Betting Integrity Forum Claims ‘Good Progress’, Updates Action Plan

The UK-based Sports Betting Integrity Forum (SBIF), a collaborative, quasi-official group of government agencies and gambling operators, has issued its 2016 annual report and followed it up with the issuance of an updated-for-2017, all with the goal of maintaining and strengthening the integrity of the UK gambing world.

The SBIF issued its official report for 2016 about a week ago, and followed that up n Friday with the updated plan for the future.  Last week’s annual report was based on an initial plan of meeting ten basic objectives, several of which will be carried forward in some manner for 2017.

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The SBIF is comprised of government entities such as the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC), the Department of Culture, Media and Sport, the British Horseracing Authority (BHA), the Greyhound Board of Great Britain, the England and Wales Cricket Board, Police Scotland, the National Crime Agency, and the National Police Chiefs Council; sports and pastime federations ranging from the Sports Betting Group, Rugby Football Union and Rugby Football League to the Tennis Integrity Unit and the World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association; individual books serving the UK market such as Paddy Power Betfair, Ladbrokes Coral, bet365, and of course William Hill; and some of the industry groups collectively representing those books, such as the Association of British Bookmakers (ABB) and the Remote Gambling Association (RGA).  The wide-ranging cooperation among those involved illustrates why the UK’s gambling industry on the whole is rated as one of the world’s safest to consumers.

According to the SBIF, “Good progress has been made on implementing the 10 actions in the Plan, with 9 actions having been successfully delivered. Implementation of the first Sport and Sports Betting Integrity Action Plan has already seen the UK deliver on a number of commitments, strengthening how we approach and address risks to the integrity of sport and sports betting. For example: developing and establishing information exchange protocols, reviewing the provision and effectiveness of education programmes in sport and enhanced engagement with the CPS to improve management of sports betting corruption cases.”

The 2016 annual report was actually the first such annual report put out by the group, after it refocused its energies back in late 2015.  Here’s what the SBIF states was done last year:

  • Action 1 (SBIF) – Reporting progress on the delivery of the SBI Action Plan via a public facing website, thus ensuring transparency, visibility and sharing Britain’s achievements in the fight against matchfixing.
  • Action 2 (SBIF) – Developing and establishing information exchange protocols consistent with the provisions of the UK law and Data Protection Act guidance.
  • Action 3 (assigned to Sports Betting Group) – Reviewing the adoption of the Sports Betting Group’s Code of Practice to determine its effectiveness
  • Action 4 (UKGC/DCMS) – Developing an SBIF communications portal to facilitate improved communications between partners.
  • Action 5 (SBG) – Reviewing the provision and effectiveness of education programmes in sport to deter and protect players and participants from betting corruption.
  • Action 6 (SBG) – Collaborating with relevant sports to share information and best practices and assisting them to tackle match-fixing issues within their sport.
  • Action 7 (various Law Enforcement entities) – Reviewing engagement with the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) in betting corruption cases to improve management of sports betting corruption cases.
  • Action 8 (UKGC) – Reviewing the terms of reference of the Sports Betting Intelligence Unit (SBIU) to ensure delivery of most effective support to partners.  (This ongoing concern was rated as only “partly achieved” in the SBIF’s summary.)
  • Action 9 (SBIF) – Undertaking risk assessments of threats from betting integrity on sport and sports betting.
  • Action 10 (SBIF) – Issuing the annual report.  (And passing Go, and collecting £200, one presumes.)

Consumers can judge for themselves how the pieces are intended to merge together to ensure a fair wagering arena for all punters.  And, with 2016 in the books, here’s the SBIF’s new top-ten to-do list for 2017:

  • Action 1 (UKGC) – Continue the review of the terms of reference of the Sports Betting Intelligence Unit to ensure delivery of most effective, risk based approach to support to partners.
  • Action 2 (SBIF) – Support workshops to promote good practice and promote sharing of knowledge and information across all stakeholder groups. Areas to be covered to include; sharing information, standardising presentation of evidence and misuse of inside information.
  • Action 3 (Department for Culture, Media and Sport) – Finalise funding of the SBIF to support effective delivery of the Sports and Sports Betting Integrity Action Plan in line with responsibilities of the Home Office Anti-Corruption plan.
  • Action 4 (SBIF) – Ensure that DCMS in implementing the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) into UK legalisation are aware of the need to ensure the effective delivery of Britain’s betting integrity strategy and in particular the exchange of information between national platforms.
  • Action 5 (SBIF) – Ensure collective clarity of the measures that will enable sharing of information between SBIF members and, as representatives of their organisations, promote understanding of the legal provisions and protocols to share information.
  • Action 6 (SBIF) – Undertake assessment of the major threats to sport and sports betting to enable focussed activity on key priority areas that support Britain’s National Platform.
  • Action 7 (UKGC) – Work with the Council of Europe’s Convention Secretariat and Follow-Up Committee to ensure Britain’s interests are represented in activities that support the implantation of the Convention on the Manipulation of Sports Competitions Gambling Commission.
  • Action 8 (SBG) – Sports Governing Bodies to undertake a best practice review of rules and regulations on betting to ensure sports regulatory frameworks remain fit for purpose.
  • Action 9 (SBG) – Expand the reach and support provided by the Sports Betting Group to sports governing bodies to reflect the expectations set out in the 2016 Code for Sports Governance. This support should include assistance in developing education for the widest range of participants i.e. not solely confined to athletes/players.
  • Action 10 (various betting operators) – Develop a strategy for engaging with small and medium betting operators to raise awareness and share good practice in order to protect the integrity of sports betting and their interests.

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