Global Lottery Monitoring System (GLMS) has published its 2020 mid-term report, citing increased illegal activity on the sports betting front as well as strong progress made by the association during the first half of the year.

In its breakdown of alerts by continent and sport, GLMS revealed that North America had been subject to 13 alerts comprising seven for soccer, four for tennis and two for hockey. South America saw eight alerts – six for soccer and two for tennis.

According to President Ludovico Calvi in his opening remarks, the cessation of mainstream sport competitions worldwide due to the Covid-19 outbreak has created a “window of opportunity for malefactors to exploit and manipulate sports betting across the globe”. 

He stated: “I have personally observed an extremely busy period during the last three months with the detection of mounting irregular and suspicious betting activities. As our sport integrity association reacted promptly to the new and unexpected threats through our Integrity Hubs in Copenhagen, Hong Kong and Montreal, together with members and partners, we have never been so busy as we have in this period in fighting the phenomena of ghost matches and match fixing.” 

Calvi confirmed that during the last quarter, there was an increased number of cases of “matches” which never actually took place, but were promoted on the web with the goal of profiting at the expense of the unsuspecting public and betting operators. 

“Criminal organisations have been very active since the outbreak of Covid-19, seizing any opportunity – even during a pandemic crisis – to further their illicit activities,” he said. “As a result, GLMS has increased the level of vigilance and intelligence monitoring and will do more so in the upcoming months. 

“Additional threats are likely to continue to materialize while sport events resume in a usually quiet sporting period of the year, given that the financial crisis has adversely impacted countless sport organisations globally, which in turn, may increase the level of risk-taking and vulnerability of athletes and sport stakeholders.”