Public Security Blog
Dealing with Betting Corruption in Sports – How Technology Can Help Stop the Rot
Now the verdicts are in, cricket authorities and sporting administrators generally need to learn the lessons from the Pakistani cricket spot-fixing trial. The corrupt activities of South African captain, Hansie Cronje, which came to light more than ten years ago,were a powerful warning of the corrosive effect that betting can have on all sports.
Since then, governing bodies - with cricket at the forefront - have actively conducted reviews, establishing units dedicated to the problem and putting in place expert resources to counter it. Yet, when it came to the crunch it was a national newspaper that revealed the spot-fixing scandal not the International Cricket Conference’s (ICC) anti-corruption and security unit (ACSU).
What sporting bodies often lack in dealing with this issue are dedicated electronic information management systems. A recent government-commissioned report recommended that ‘every sport should have a system for capturing intelligence and reporting regularly to the Sports Betting Intelligence Unit’. At the moment, many do not.
To properly get to grips with the issues, administrators require full end-to-end information management functionality that facilitates information sharing and that can pinpoint repeat behaviour and suspicious activity patterns.
Of course, organisations must ensure that the chosen solution delivers the functionality they need to effectively tackle corruption in their particular sport. Systems must be able to incorporate an intelligent search capability and to gather and sift through vast amounts of data. In addition, they must also link players teams, events and officials to reveal patterns of offending. Repeat behaviour is common in illegal sports gambling, so the ability to build ‘like case management’ is particularly key.
After all, it is not usually the suspicious betting activity that is hard to pinpoint. More typically, it is the pattern of historical associations between players, coaches and games that underpins the betting that is particularly complex and difficult to track.
Ideally, in this context, systems should also be able search relevant websites and emails; bring all these materials into a central resource for review, assessment, and ultimately use as evidence in criminal prosecutions.
It’s impossible to say that having this kind of technology and methodology in place would definitely have nipped this incidence of spot-fixing in the bud but it’s likely that, if it is implemented in the future, sporting authorities,not tabloid newspapers,will be getting the plaudits. And by taking action now, they may deter future generations of players and bookmakerstempted to get involved in corrupt gambling.
Mark Gibson, sales and marketing director, Public Security, SAS