Sports and sports betting routinely confronts the threat of organised match fixing, and is increasingly turning to innovative technology as a tool to ensure integrity.

What is it?

In a recent webinar hosted by the International Betting Integrity Association (IBIA) and EU40, a range of experienced speakers discussed the use of technology as a means of combating match fixing, with the UEFA European Championship just around the corner.

Who is it?

Steve Menary, Freelance Journalist

Thomas Frankowski, former Wisła Kraków and Polish national team striker

Mona Medan, Communications and Projects Assistant, EU40

Marc Tarabella, Parti Socialiste MEP for the French Community of Belgium

Stephen Quigley, Flutter Entertainment

Lee Calver, Sports Integrity Lead at Entain

Jose Inglasio Alberta Sarasa, La Liga

Carlos Albarto, La Liga

Jake Marsh, Global Head of Integrity at Stats Perform

Christina Thakor-Rankin, Co-Founder of the All-in Diversity Project

What is being said?

“We apply technology innovation across all our products, as well as our various integrity verticals,” Marsh began. “For those new to sports integrity, this is namely at its core betting markets monitoring, intelligence operations, and now also performance analysis.

“When we talk about innovation and technology, nowadays everyone is talking about Artificial Intelligence and machine learning. It’s not always mentioned that the betting industry has been applying machine learning for a long time now, it’s nothing new to them, and it’s the same at Stat erform, we invest heavily in these areas. 

“We take advantage of this through leveraging deep data sets and developing new metrics to help risk analysis and investigation of individual matches and competitions. As a business we sit at the cross section between the betting and sport industries, Our work integrity is primarily to help close this loop, and using our own in house innovations to help protect sports and betting.”

He added: “Innovation isn’t just about technology, machine learning and AI. It’s also about new ways of thinking, policy, process and responsibilities. There’s been some great examples of this in the past few years, one of which is the RBAAs own development of the sportsbetting data standards, which we’ve been involved in from the early stages.”

However, Thakor-Rankin, although agreeing that technology and innovation can play a key role in preventing match fixing, highlighted that all methods have flaws. 

“There’s always a risk of bias, and it doesn’t matter whether it’s a man or not, all humans are inherently biased,” she said. “This technology is built by people with biases, it could be gender bias or another form of bias. 

“A lot of the programming and a lot of the attributes to match fixing and spot fixing are based on historic events – it’s what we know to be proven to be match fixing and spot fixing, and we then advise our programmers to build this into the technology, and the machine learning itself. 

“It will then continue learning based on the original programming, and this technology is for sale. Jake and his business are selling this technology to any number of buyers, and some of those buyers could be a match fixer. They can look at what the operators and bookies are doing to catch them, and the technology is going to take time to catch up. The one thing technology cannot be programmed for, which was touched on by Stephen and Lee, is the unknown.”

Why should I watch it?

To hear unique insights into the use of technology and other innovative developments to protect both sports and sports betting against the threat of corruption and match fixing.

Where can I see more?

Source – EU40Network YouTube Channel

Sports integrity innovation is not just about technology