ESSA urges EU to adopt sports integrity blueprint

ESSA has today (Thursday) urged the European Union to endorse the British Integrity Action Plan, a guideline for protecting sports integrity across Europe.

The plan was unveiled at the European Parliament by Mike O’Kane, the chairman of the ESSA, the sports betting integrity association that represents most of the world’s biggest regulated betting companies.

The plan constitutes a “blueprint of good practice and effective detection and enforcement measures to protect sporting events, consumers and regulated betting operators from the negative impact of betting related match-fixing,” according to O’Kane, who also co-chairs the UK’s new Sports Betting Integrity Forum.

He told Members of the European Parliament, senior European Commission officials and sports representatives that it was imperative that gambling regulators and law enforcement agencies work alongside sports bodies and regulated betting firms to combat threats to sporting integrity.

“What we have sought to achieve is a detailed strategic joint approach across all sectors to tackling match-fixing,” O’Kane said.

He added that the action plan is “crucially committed to information sharing with appropriate national and international authorities. It is imperative that similar practices are adopted not just across the EU, but globally, if we are serious in our desire to drive out those criminal elements that are seeking to manipulate sport to defraud betting operators and consumers”.

O’Kane added: “Clearly, where possible, common standards are beneficial and this action plan, developed in one of the foremost sporting and regulatory gambling jurisdictions in the world with a highly effective sports betting integrity model, provides the best potential basis for that.”

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