Demonising Justin Gatlin
13th September 2015
Tennis and football dominated suspicious betting activity detected on the markets of ESSA members during the second quarter of 2015. A total of 73 alerts were raised by members of ESSA during the quarter, 50 of which were flagged as unusual, but not suspicious; and 23 of which were flagged as suspicious and reported to the sporting authorities. Of these 23, 19 concerned tennis and four concerned football.
Of the 48 tennis alerts flagged by ESSA members, 29 were dismissed as ‘unusual but not suspicious’, while 19 were flagged as suspicious. Of the 14 football alerts, 10 were dismissed as ‘unusual but not suspicious’, while four were flagged as suspicious. Therefore, tennis constituted 83% of the suspicious alerts reported to sporting authorities by ESSA, and the highest percentage of alerts that were flagged as suspicious by ESSA. Interestingly, non-traditional betting sports such as volleyball and bowls were also flagged by ESSA members
ESSA deems an alert as unusual or suspicious when it involves unexpected activity with atypical bet sizes or volumes that continue, even after price corrections have been made to deter such activity in the market. It only flags an alert as suspicious after making detailed enquiries with all of its members to eliminate the possibility that the unusual patterns could be for legitimate reasons, such as incorrect pricing.
No reason was given by ESSA for the prominence of tennis in its quarter two report, however a number of tennis players were suspended for alleged match-fixing in early 2015. These included Italian Walter Trusendi and French player Elie Rousset, which were judged by the Tennis Integrity Unit to have fixed a game in order to profit from prize money; plus Daniele Bracciali (pictured) and occasional doubles partner Potito Starace, who were suspended by the Federazione Italiana Tennis (FIT) after they were implicated in a match-fixing investigation. ESSA said that its members, which include some of the world’s largest bookmakers, invest over €50 million annually in compliance and internal security systems in order to combat sporting fraud.
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