SBC Betting On Sports Europe – Session Preview: Integrity Challenges – How Have Things Moved On?

As one of Europe’s foremost betting conferences gets underway this week, we caught up with one of their key speakers, Bill South, Group Director of Security for William Hill.

Bill is one of our sectors’ leading strategists in the battle for industry integrity. During his panel session this week, he will be discussing with his peers the progress made so far, in regard to player protection and combatting match-fixing. Plus, most importantly, what the next best steps are for our industry.

We caught up with Bill ahead of his session to find out more about his perspective on the current state of industry integrity and why SBC Betting on Sports Europe is a must-attend event!

Why is it so important for you to attend industry events such as Betting On Sports Europe?

“As someone who has been a longstanding attendee of these types of events, and the job I do, it’s just a great opportunity to connect with my peers and to get involved in the important discussions surrounding sports betting and integrity, getting an understanding of the latest thinking and what’s out there. It’s also really useful for me to learn more about the sorts of good practice and new technology that is helping to move the industry forward. Whether it’s talk about jurisdiction, the product or about the sort of interrelationships that you get within the sports betting integrity world. If you take the time to attend conferences like this, which are well established and always have a good attendance, it’s almost a no brainer, in regard to your professional development with the igaming industry.”

The IBIA reported that match fixing costs £25m annually, how easy will it be for us an industry to reduce this number?

“When talking about the regulated and licensed market, I think one of the things, certainly from a personal point of view, that I’ve been really proud to play a small part in, is the way that betting operators, regulators and sport’s governing bodies have all come together to create some very positive dialogue now. I think what the IBIA is showing is that these numbers are significant, but also there’s a real visibility around them. This is what will enable us as an industry to come up with strategies to deal with the problem and to ensure that all our focus is on finding the best strategies to reduce this number.

“If you look at what has happened over the last 5 -10 years, there have been some real successes. The issue of corruption is naturally something that nobody wants to see, and integrity and good governance is something that everybody wants to see. So, visibility in a regulated license market is great because it means you can’t shy away from the issue, but instead you must do something to tackle it.

“The more increased visibility and transparency there is in the industry, the easier it will be to reduce that number. It’s all about being able to deal with something that you can see. If betting activity moves away into illegal markets, or just something that you can’t quantify, then it’s much more difficult to deal with it as an issue. If you can see something, then you have the beginnings of an understanding, and it is all about that from my point of view, cooperation, good governance, and quality of communication.”

How did the Pandemic impact the industry’s ability to protect its players and how can this risk be mitigated going forward?

“If we go back to the start of the pandemic, when there was no sport, for example, there was very limited content. This meant that some of the content that was provided was either relatively new or from more niche areas that perhaps didn’t have the exposure that it would’ve done in the past. Regardless of the source of content, the same rules apply, which is assessing the markets, assessing the markets from a risk point of view and monitoring patterns, enabling judgement calls to be made on market liquidity. The rules of governance and integrity didn’t change and at the end of the day, you are only going to supply something that people want. If they’re not interested in it, then they simply will not get involved in it.

“One of the great things we’ve achieved through our continued work with the IBIA is the alert platform and that aggregation of market data, particularly when there is irregular or suspicious activity. It enables operators to report incidents and then, if necessary, easily escalate that onto a regulatory body or a sport governing body.

“Regarding the integrity and providence of the content that’s being supplied. it comes back to being open, transparent, and understanding the market. You don’t change the rules of integrity and risk because a market may be slightly different. You protect your customer base because what you can’t accept is any kind of fraudulent activity that impacts your customers. So, I think that that’s always front and centre of any operator’s mind.”

What is your favourite thing about attending SBC betting On Sports Europe?
“As somebody who’s been attending these events over a number of years now, I wouldn’t keep coming back if they weren’t great events. It’s also just nice to start going to events in person again, meeting new people and re-connecting with industry peers who I’ve known for a long time. Sports betting events have always been a fun place for people like me to go to. I always get something out of it and have a great time.”

Editors’ note:

After speaking with Bill, it’s hard not to get excited for this SBC Conference taking place in Londons’ Stamford Bridge this week. It’s clear to see that we, as an industry, have made much progress in the continuing battle against match fixing and fraud. There is still a way to go but with increased industry collaboration and transparency, we’re sure to have a positive future ahead.

To find out more about sports integrity and the future of the sports betting market be sure to attend Bill’s panel session on Thursday, 11th November. The session is called Integrity challenges – how have things moved on? And he will be joined by other industry leading lights including Alan Alger, Director of Corporate Communications at Betway and Matt Fowler, Director of Integrity for the International Betting Integrity Association. A session not to be missed!

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