The International Betting Integrity Association (IBIA), the integrity monitoring body formerly known as ESSA, has reported a year-on-year decline in suspicious betting alerts for 2019.
A total of 183 alerts across 12 different sports were reported to authorities last year, down 31% from 267 in 2018.
Tennis was again the sport of most concern to the IBIA, generating 101 reports for the year, though this represented a 43% year-on-year decline.
Football followed in a distant second with 49 alerts, then basketball with just eight alerts and table tennis with five alerts. Volleyball and ice hockey attracted four alerts each, while esports, badminton and handball, each saw three alerts. Horse racing, pool and beach volleyball had just one alert each in 2019.
“The decline in alerts is very welcome, especially as this is primarily a result of an improved level of integrity in ITF tennis, which has been the subject of particular scrutiny in recent years,” IBIA chief executive Khalid Ali said.
“However, there remains a clear threat from criminals intent on manipulating sport to defraud operators. Such illicit organised and targeted action has an impact on the reputation and financial well-being of sports and reputable betting operators alike.”
Europe was responsible for the majority of reports, with the IBIA filing 87 alerts throughout the course of the year. Some 33 alerts were in relation to tennis, with football just behind on 32 alerts, including eight from the UK.
In Asia, 52 alerts were registered in 2019, 34 of which were related to suspicious betting activity surrounding tennis. A further 10 alerts were linked to football, with three each for volleyball and basketball.
A total of 15 alerts were registered in Africa, 10 of which were for tennis, while the 13 alerts flagged in North America were all in relation to suspicious betting on tennis. The IBIA also filed 13 alerts in America, nine of which were for tennis and the other four for football.
“We continue to work closely with sports and our members to reduce that threat and to identify and punish such corruption, utilising the world’s largest operator-run and customer data led integrity system,” Ali said.
“Our rebranding and global repositioning in 2019 has aided our expansion with operators increasingly recognising the value and business necessity of engaging in collective action to protect their products against the loss of revenue resulting from betting corruption.”
The IBIA report comes after the Tennis Integrity Unit, the sport’s anti-corruption body, this month revealed it received 138 reports of suspicious activity in 2019, the lowest annual amount since its integrity data was first made public in 2015.
The total for the 12-month period was also 47.7% less than the 264 alerts that were raised in 2018.