ESSA rebrands as International Betting Integrity Association

4 June 2019

Sports betting integrity monitoring body ESSA has rebranded as the International Betting Integrity Association.

The name change aims to highlight the operator-funded association’s increasingly international focus, especially the role it plays in raising awareness of betting-related integrity issues worldwide.

“The new name communicates who we are, what we do and where we want to be,” International Betting Integrity Association secretary general Khalid Ali explained.

“The association has been active across six continents in recent years, with almost half of our alerts coming from outside of Europe,” he said. “This activity will only increase as gambling markets around the world continue to open up to regulation.”

“The debate is global and our strategic focus must evolve in line with that.”

The association’s non-executive chairman, and head of global trading for Betway, Jon Russell added: “Our members represent a sizeable part of the worldwide regulated betting market and their business strategies reflect global ambitions.

“Integrity has become a key regulatory issue in that market debate, with membership of a monitoring body a licensing requirement in some cases,’ he said. “Betting and integrity are now inseparable and I encourage all responsible operators to join us and take advantage of the multifaceted business benefits membership brings.”

News of the rebrand coincided with the release of its integrity monitoring figures for the first quarter of 2019. The association’s operators, comprising more than 50 sportsbook brands, feed reports of suspicious activity into its monitoring platform, allowing it to send alerts to its members, sports governing bodies, regulators and law enforcement officials.

The first three months of 2019 saw a significant drop in the number of suspicious betting alerts, which fell 26% year-on-year to 37. Alert numbers also declined 55% from the fourth quarter of 2019.

This was largely down to a decrease in alerts generated on tennis, which has traditionally seen the highest level of suspicious activity. However, the 17 alerts for the sport represented a 37% year-on-year, and 69% quarter-on-quarter, decline. The 17 alerts was the lowest quarterly total for tennis since Q1, 2017.

The bulk of tennis alerts (eight) were generated in Europe, followed by five from Asia, one from Africa and three from North America. Europe, where many of the association’s member operators are headquartered, accounted for 25 of the quarter’s 37 alerts, far ahead of second-placed Asia with seven.

While the number of alerts for tennis declined sharply, the sport remains by far the source of most suspicious betting activity. Football, with seven alerts - all from Europe - came in second followed by basketball and badminton, with three apiece.