Comments on the IOC Sports Monitoring Unit

For all media looking for thoughts on the announcement of the International Olympic Movement setting up a relationship with a commercial company to monitor irregular betting on sports events.

1)    A good start.

2)    Almost useless in protecting sport (See below).

Why?  Because the really bad boy fixers are still betting on the Asian illegal gambling market.  The monitoring unit is still mostly focused on the legal European and North American gambling sites.   This means that although they can monitor the live odds on an event, they cannot know which punters are making the odds change or the amount of money coming on to events with any precision.

Two, okay they discover irregular betting.  Now what?   Does this commercial company have detectives ready to investigate?   Does the IOC have an integrity unit ready to spring into action?   What sanctions are in place for athletes or their coaches, agents or family members if they are caught placing bets?  How can they be traced?

I did a study while at Oxford on ways that fixed football matches were detected, in less than 20% of the cases was the corruption detected by irregular odds changes.  So in all, this is a good start, but it does not go far enough.

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