The Global Lottery Monitoring System (GLMS) announced a rise in suspicious sports betting activity alerts being sent to various organisations over the course of 2020.
Alerts of this kind were 3.2% higher than in the previous year, with a total of 162 going out to operators in countries around the world.
Alerts were also sent to governing bodies within sports, with football being the most common area for suspicious betting activity warnings.
Most cases were not threatening
The GLMS’ suspicious betting activity alerts work on a colour-coded system. Green is the least serious, with red being the biggest threat to the integrity of sports betting.
1,113 alerts came through altogether. Of these, 715 were green. Most of these cases related to team news, incorrect starting prices and small changes in betting odds. Yellow cases, which were mainly in relation to unexplained betting odds changes and possible rumours of match-fixing, stood at 217.
Many of the alerts related to team changes came due to the pandemic. As the GLMS explained: “teams had to continuously revisit their strategies and team line ups, counting on their reserve or youth players to fill the gaps for senior players who tested positive or were quarantined.”
As for the most serious alerts, 86 were received, up from 50 in the previous year. Red alerts relate to match-fixing rumours from named sources, as well as odds changes deemed suspicious and more.
95 alerts last year were not assigned a category.
Football the most common sport for alerts
832 of the 1,113 alerts received last year were from within football. This was over 75% of the total number.
The volume of football alerts was despite many professional leagues being suspended for three months due to the pandemic.
Of the 832 alerts, 110 were sent to various bodies within football. UEFA received 38, while FIFA received 44.
Elsewhere, the International Olympic Committee received seven alerts related to suspicious betting. The other 73 sent alerts were split between various other bodies, such as the Swiss Lottery and Betting Board, Tennis Integrity Unit and Esports Integrity Coalition (ESIC).
936 suspicious betting alerts came through at the beginning of events. This was followed by 150 after an event concluded, and 27 coming through as a result of in-play changes to betting odds.
After football, basketball drew the most sports betting alerts at 134. Ice hockey was third with 55, with tennis fourth on 50 and American football coming in at a distant fifth with 11.
727 alerts were in relation to Europe. 191 came from Asia, with South America coming third with 90. Africa had 23 suspicious betting cases generated, with Oceania having seven. 11 were determined to be “international”.