By staff
BETDAQ calls for sporting federations to police their sport more effectively to safeguard integrity

“Sporting regulators have more information now than they ever had before. They should use this information to maintain the purity and integrity of their sport.” Rob Hartnett, BETDAQ

Yesterday’s debate in Westminster hosted by BETDAQ, one of the world’s leading betting exchanges, got to grips with the main issues surrounding online betting and sport. A panel of the key players and commentators in the industry discussed how to curb potential charges of corruption, how to balance the need for integrity and basic consumer rights, and what the role of sports’ governing bodies should be.

The debate was chaired by the BBC Horse racing correspondent Cornelius Lysaght, and included audience participation from representatives of the media, sporting federations, bookmakers, sector analysts and industry bodies.

In addressing the potential for corrupt betting activities within sport, Rob Hartnett, UK Managing Director of BETDAQ, made clear that it is the responsibility of sports’ governing bodies to act upon any suspicion of wrongdoing:

“If there are suspicions, in racing for example, the Jockey Club should make them known to the jockey and trainers, ideally ahead of the event. The best way for the Club to deal with it is for them to take action and make individuals aware that their performance will be watched closely.

“They could do it by having a quiet tap on the shoulder, and advise participants or those close to them that they are being monitored because of suspicious betting patterns. The same could be done with tennis. By alerting people to the fact, it goes a long way towards preventing them and others from acting in a way that might damage the integrity of their sport.

Hartnett went on to explain that BETDAQ has always strived to suppress corruption in all sport and urged that by providing the sporting authorities with suspicious betting patterns the impetus is on them to act upon it:

“We have a very good relationship with the security department of the Jockey Club and have had plenty of conversations with them. I wish that the information which is now available to them was better acted upon.”

“The Jockey Club, The Football Association, The Association of Tennis Professionals, all should be looking at these betting patterns and they should be acting upon them.

When asked whether sporting authorities should be allowed access to the private records of betting exchanges’ customers, or whether this is a realistic step in curbing corruption, Hartnett said:

“It should not be a private club or association that has access to private data, but a Government appointed authority charged with maintaining and taking care of those personal details.”

Responding to the question of whether betting exchanges pose a new threat to the integrity of sport or whether the potential has always been there regardless of the advent of exchanges Hartnett said:

“Those who think exchanges have impacted on integrity are those with a commercial self interest. Exchanges have opened things up and made all betting much more transparent. A very well known on-course bookmaker told me that these things always went on but now everyone knows about it.”

“Every bet on an exchange is open to scrutiny. Bookmakers were playing with a marked card, now everyone has a card. If someone is looking to use information improperly they leave fingerprints behind in a way they didn’t in the past.”

In answer to a call by Peter Savill, chairman of the British Horseracing Board, for the Government to set up an independent inquiry into betting exchanges, Clive Hawkswood, from the UK Department for Culture, Media and Sport, said:

“I personally don’t think an independent commission is needed. We have looked at this for a good long time. We have consulted widely and questions have been put before Ministers, who have responded. That does not mean the door is closed. Peter Savill is due to see Richard Caborn (Sports Minister) next month solely to discuss this issue and to explain his case.”

In the first response yet from the DCMS Hawkswood echoed BETDAQ’s stance that the onus should not be on the exchanges to monitor unlawful activity in sport:

“We must not underestimate the difficulties for all regulators in betting areas. But the exchanges are not there to regulate sport – that is a job for sport’s authorities. I can’t see a situation whereby exchanges will be outlawed and I find it very difficult to see a situation whereby individuals laying will be banned.”

- Ends –

Photography available on request.

Notes to editors:

BETDAQ launched its sports betting exchange in September 2001. The company’s international headquarters are in Dublin.

· BETDAQ offers a wide range of markets on the world's premier sporting events. Football attracts considerably the most interest, accounting for almost 60 per cent of turnover. Next comes horseracing and golf, followed by NFL, Rugby, Cricket, Tennis, and a host of other sports.

· The BETDAQ service is available in a number of languages and bets are matched across a broad range of currencies. Its customer base is drawn from over 100 countries around the world.

· BETDAQ launched the world’s first real time, mobile betting exchange service in 2003.

For further information, please contact:

Ben Lock/Leanne Tritton

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