Sports integrity

IBIA sets out data collection best standards

4 minutes read
The International Betting Integrity Association (IBIA ) has published a set of standards setting out protocols for the collection of sporting event data for betting purposes.
Football

The integrity watchdog explained that with a general lack of formal regulation and licensing of the data collation and supply chain, there was a clear benefit to ensuring high levels of accuracy and transparency. 

“IBIA believes that this is an effective means of achieving an approach which best serves to protect the integrity of sport, its data, betting markets generated by that data and consumers enjoying those products,” it explained. 

“No data approach is infallible or immune from potential corruption, but measures can and should be taken to guard against such illicit activity and effective controls can minimise the associated risks.”

Publication of the best practice standards follow a call from IBIA in May for all parties in the sports betting data supply chain to contribute to developing the protocols. Stats Perform, an affiliate member of IBIA, announced in short order that it would be contributing. 

The standards aim to ensure all data is accurate, reliable and transparent; responsibly sourced in a way that minimises risk, and collated in a way that protects against criminality or misconduct.

As such it has set out measures governing three key areas of focus: personnel vetting and training, data collation processes, and data integrity and reporting. 

For personnel vetting and training, it requires all data collection to be carried out by people aged 18 and above, whose identities have been verified, and additional background checks carried out to ensure they are no conflicts of interest.

All people involved in collating data should undergo live training, which must be repeated if a person has been inactive for 90 days or more. This training should include identifying and reporting integrity concerns.

The data collation process, meanwhile, must make clear the source, accuracy and reliability of data, by marking how it has been generated (ie, in person at a match, or via TV broadcast).

The speed, latency and process of transmission must also be set out by the data provider to their operator clients. All data must also be held securely for at least three years, the standards add. 

Finally, for data integrity and reporting, a detailed risk assessment must be carried out for all sporting events or competitions on which data is collated, with ongoing monitoring and reviews of potential risks. 

Any integrity issues must be flagged to all parties in the data supply chain, as well as any other relevant industry stakeholders. Information sharing agreements, or provisions for such agreements, must be arranged with regulatory and law enforcement investigators. 

“When we started this process I stated that upholding the reliability and credibility of sporting event data was of paramount importance for IBIA members and that the challenges posed by the pandemic had further highlighted the necessity for robust data chains,” IBIA chief executive Khalid Ali explained. 

“IBIA has sought to meet that integrity challenge and has put in place a set of data standards that reflects the minimum expectations of the association and its members.”

Those that comply with these standards, and are willing to undergo an audit of their data collation processes by testing agency and standards body eCOGRA, will be grated a Data Standards Kitemark. 

“The association believes that data collation is an important part of the wider sports betting integrity debate and this standards and auditing process, to be conducted by leading independent and internationally approved testing agency eCOGRA, represents the next step in the association’s work in this area,” Ali continued. 

“We call upon all of those parties engaged in the data collation process to demonstrate that they meet these standards and of their commitment to protecting the integrity of the global data supply chain.”  

eCOGRA chief executive Shaun McCallaghan added: “Our professional auditing experts have worked with companies operating in both the betting and data sectors, and eCOGRA will seek to utilise that industry knowledge to best effect in the data standards assessment process. 

“We will also be assisting IBIA in an annual stress test and enhancement of those standards.”