In mid-March, the International Betting Integrity Association (IBIA) and Fecoljuegos, the Colombian trade association, joined forces to work on projects and initiatives to improve integrity in the local gambling industry.
In a conversation with SBC, Silvia Paleari, Director of Public Affairs at IBIA, talked about the relationship between the popularity of sports and the number of suspicious alerts around them.
In a recent press release from IBIA, the association described that between 2017 and 2021, a total of 9 alerts were reported in Colombia, 8 of them coming from tennis matches.
When asked if there is a direct relationship between tennis not being the most popular sport among Colombian fans and the sport being the one with the most alerts, and whether its visibility makes it more difficult to protect, Paleari assured that the number of alerts “reflects the general trend that we have seen at macro level in the last five years.”
This is perceived despite the fact that the association is “observing a downward trend [of suspicious alerts] in tennis in recent years.”
Paleari commented that in 2021, tennis alerts saw a decrease of 18% compared to 2020 and a 21% fall when compared to 2019. So far 2022 seems no different, with only 14 tennis alerts reported during the first trimester, which represents a 57% decrease on the 33 reported in Q4 2021.
“It is probably difficult to state that there could be a direct link between tennis not being the most popular sport among Colombian fans and the level of alerts, as our alerts can come from a customer which is not necessarily located in Colombia but bets on Colombian sports events,” she said.
On the other hand, the director highlighted that this is one of the key points of IBIA’s platform and one of the data sets that regulators can use, since it allows them to know which sporting event might have an issue from the activity of customers which are not necessarily based in their jurisdiction.
Evert Montero Cárdenas, President of Fecoljuegos, said it is important to achieve a good relationship between the sports betting operators and the tennis tournaments since “when facing fraud or conducts that threaten the integrity of the results of the sports competitions we are all affected, because the credibility of sports results and bookmakers is violated.”
In addition, he assured that it’s important to generate synergies between the interested parties to achieve a more effective fight against practices that can damage the image of sports.
“This is a risk that Fecoljuegos is constantly working against and, therefore, sees as part of the strategy to link all the actors in a way that were is co-responsibility among all to educate, train, identify and implement control measures, to prevent sports’ reputation from being affected.”
And he concluded: “The entire sports sector can learn from the experience of other countries to improve, especially when it comes to taking care of the activity and providing more transparency.”