UN report calls for ban on anonymous payments to tackle corruption

| By Nosa Omoigui
A United Nations (UN) Global Report on corruption in sport has called for greater international cooperation to help “strengthen detection and reporting of illegal betting on sport”.
UN report advises governments how to tackle illegal sports betting

One suggestion from the report was that governments should establish national platforms and contact points for international cooperation with sports governing bodies and other key stakeholders, such as law enforcement agencies and licenced betting operators.

The report called on governments to make sure that national legislation includes laws that appropriately criminalise illegal betting, including obliging betting operators to report any suspicious betting to regulators.

It also suggested that governments, regulators and sports governing bodies should cooperate with internet service providers to identify and block illegal gambling sites, and identify transactions that are suspected to be related to illegal betting.

The report suggested regulators help address money laundering issues. In addition to creating designated anti-money laundering units, regulators’ anti-money-laundering requirements should include the banning of the use of anonymous payment processing firms by betting operators the recording of customer identification and betting data, and reporting to financial crime authorities of a suspicious transactions and breaches of large bet thresholds by an individual.

In addition, the document called for “regulations that require licenced betting operators to publish an official list of shareholders”, in order “to make clear the identity of their owners”.

The report said: “Illegal betting and the related manipulation of sport competitions are major threats to the integrity of sport and to its nature. The role of illegal betting in sports in money-laundering has become a global problem and the financial scale of the problem is such that illegal betting is not only a major driver of corruption in sport, but also a major channel for money-laundering.  

“Illegal betting takes place in both grey and black markets and the licencing framework for grey-market operators is often opaque, especially in the context of online betting platforms and jurisdictions offering bets on events taking place in other jurisdictions.”

The report cited a 2020 American Gaming Association survey which showed that 52% of bettors used an illegal site, and 82% of those that did had no idea they were betting on an illegal site.

The report also noted that illegal betting predominantly takes place in countries classed as grey or black markets, and has grown substantially due to increasing internet usage.

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