Global sports betting alerts in 2021 are down 13% YoY

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Posted on: Jan 26, 2022 06:28 am.

Last updated on: January 26, 2022 06:28.

Barring an increase in 2021, the scale of suspicious activity in sports betting is not changing. Data from the International Betting Integrity Association (IBIA) shows that the number of reports is still extremely low.

Wimbledon
Some of the tennis courts used for Wimbledon action in 2021. Tennis continues to show a propensity for match-fixing, even as the number of suspicious alerts drops. (Image: AELTC/Bob Martin)

The expansion of legalized sports betting that the US began embarking on in 2018 would lead to a serious increase in match-fixing. That was the position of some opponents; However, this argument has fallen flat.

The IBIA’s most recent assessment of the status of suspicious betting alerts shows that there were a total of 239 alerts over the past year. That’s about as much as since 2018.

Another challenging year has passed for the sector, with the specter of COVID and its impact on sporting events fading and hopefully a potential endgame in sight. It is therefore to be welcomed that the 2021 alerts showed a downward trend and a return to pre-COVID numbers,” said Khalid Ali, CEO of IBIA.

The only exception in this period was the year 2020. That year 270 warnings were registered. At that time there was also a surge in online sports betting due to COVID-19 restrictions. This could be seen as a strong case for more online sportsbooks being easier to follow than their land-based alternatives.

Europe still leads in most betting alerts

Europe is still responsible for most of the betting alerts. This is not surprising given the continent’s long history with industry. Of the 239 tenders, 188 came from Europe. Of these, Russia took first place with 27.

South America had comparatively few numbers. A total of 17 warnings came from the continent. Brazil had 11 of them – seven for soccer, two for tennis, one for beach volleyball and one for futsal. Colombia, Chile, Argentina and Bolivia were also on the list.

The North American sports betting industry saw the most movement, although it didn’t see the most warnings. From 2020 to 2021, US alerts dropped from 17 to four, a 76% decrease. Overall, including Canada, the region rose from 22 to 10, down 54%.

Elsewhere, betting alerts on soccer in Africa rose from one in 2020 to nine last year.

Problem sports are still problems

The trend of tennis and soccer appearing as the two most popular sports in terms of betting alerts has continued with 80% and 66% respectively. According to IBIA, tennis saw an 18% drop compared to the 98 alerts reported in 2020. This indicates a downward trend for the sport.

In 2018 and 2019, 178 and 101 tennis warnings were reported. This appears to indicate a long-term improvement in tennis integrity issues. Alerts at the International Tennis Federation (ITF) level fell by 26%, from 50 in 2020 to 37 in 2021. However, ongoing scandals contradict that assumption.

The number of football warnings increased by 8% to 66 compared to 61 in the previous year. This is the highest number the IBIA has ever recorded for the sport. Despite the increase, other studies have shown that football match-fixing is declining.

The new IBIA report includes 239 alerts across 13 sports and 49 countries. For the period from 2017 to 2021, 1,222 warnings appeared in 19 sports and 101 countries.

Last year, 11 teams or players received penalties or fines for their involvement in suspicious activity. Some athletes, like Ukrainian tennis player Stanislav Poplavskyy, have been permanently banned from their sport.

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