The importance of sports betting integrity within the USA has been stressed by ESSA and the American Gaming Association (AGA), in the former’s integrity report for the second quarter of 2018.

Highlighting 62 alerts of suspicious activity, the international betting integrity body’s secretary general Khalid Ali commented: “As we continue to build our presence in Europe we have also turned our attention to the US, where the Supreme Court found the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) was unconstitutional.

“This has effectively paved the way for legalised sports betting, which for too long has been hidden in the shadows.

“We want to make sure that the betting market will protect consumers and preserve the integrity of sport, which is why we have been working with our colleagues at the AGA about creating an ‘ESSA style’ model for the US market.”

In the two months since PASPA was repealed Delaware and New Jersey became the first states after Nevada to offer single game sports betting, with a number of states including Rhode Island, West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Mississippi, poised to follow their lead.

“Opening up legal sports betting helps undercut the massive illegal market”

Sara Slane, Senior Vice President of Public Affairs at the AGA, penned a guest feature in the report, where the much debated integrity fee was rubbished as damaging and not aiding integrity issues.

In a move that would “wipe out operators’ already razor-thin margins,” Slane stated a belief that such a fee would only ensure punters remained with illegal bookmakers.

Addressing how essential it is that integrity matters are placed to the fore of a sports betting roll-out across the United States, Slane explained: “Opening up the legal sports betting market helps undercut the massive illegal market that thrived under PASPA. This illegal market fuels criminal activity, fails to protect consumers and doesn’t generate a dime in tax revenue.

“It also enables betting fraud and makes games vulnerable to breaches of integrity since the illegal market lacks the transparency, oversight and cross-stakeholder collaboration necessary to identify, analyse, and stamp out illicit activity.

“As sports betting opens up across the US, the gaming industry hopes to build off of the integrity monitoring successes enjoyed in Nevada, as well as in regulated markets throughout Europe. To that end, the AGA supports the establishment of a collaborative integrity monitoring association in the US.

“…AGA hopes policymakers continue to dismiss foolish proposals”

“This association, modelled after ESSA, would help facilitate communication of suspicious betting information between stakeholders. Its goal would be twofold: to collaboratively identify risks to integrity and to empower all stakeholders – including operators, leagues, regulators and even law enforcement – with the information they need to take action.”

Before concluding: “As sports betting models are proposed and debated throughout the United States in the months ahead, AGA hopes policymakers continue to dismiss foolish proposals and instead incentivise the most effective form of integrity monitoring.

“Sports betting companies, data providers, leagues and regulators each need to share information in real-time out of a mutual shared interest to preserve the integrity of the games we love. Only then can the legal sports betting market flourish in the United States.”