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Hawkswood speaks to IOC about corruption

The International Olympic Committee's summit on fighting corruption in sport this week heard the views of the online gambling trade group the Remote Gambling Association, presented by chief executive Clive Hawkswood.

"The licensed betting industry remains committed to taking all reasonable and practical steps to assist the sporting sector to protect the integrity of its events," said Hawkswood. "It is, after all, betting businesses that corrupters seek to financially defraud when fixing sporting events and operators have a clear commercial interest in helping to deter such activity."

The meeting focused on the impact of match-fixing, which has adverse effects on both the sporting and licensed betting sectors. IOC president Jacques Rogge warned that sports as a whole was in danger from an estimated 140 billion dollars a year in illegal betting worldwide.

"I think sports is in danger, it's not about the Olympic Games, it's about sports as a whole," Rogge said after the meeting - attended by sports officials, friendly governments, Interpol and representatives of betting operators - agreed to set in motion a task force.

"What we have from Interpol is definitely that illegal betting is on the rise, that we have to absolutely fight that, there is a sense of urgency," the president of the International Olympic Committee said.

Hawkswood agreed with the IOC President's comments, noting: "It is clear that the biggest threat to both of our sectors comes from unlicensed and unregulated betting. As an industry, licensed betting operators invest sizable sums on betting integrity measures and we welcome that the IOC has recognised that licensed operators provide all necessary data to detect and deter corrupt practices in sport. We will continue to work together to address this issue through the information sharing arrangements we have in place."

However, the RGA executive cautioned against calls for a WADA type integrity body, pointing out:

"There is no clear rationale for such a body which would have limited powers, and there is no reason it should be funded by the licensed industry when the issue principally surrounds the activities of the unlicensed sector.

"The focus should instead be on coordinating the efforts of national gambling regulators which already receive significant revenues from the licensed betting operators to address regulatory matters.

"Other measures, such as the RGA funded player betting education programme with the PPF, should assist the regulatory activities of statutory bodies.'

The summit had earlier heard from Interpol Secretary General Ronald Noble that illegal betting was a threat. In one international, four week police swoop in China, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam in 2007, enforcement authorities found 700 million dollars in football bets on the table and made nearly 400 arrests, he revealed.

By 2008 Indonesia joined the operation, 1,300 arrests were made and 1.4 billion dollars in bets were blocked, coinciding with the €2008 football.

During last year's World Cup Football 155 million dollars in illegal bets was disrupted in a four-nation enforcement operation.

Corruption through both land and internet illegal betting impacted a wide range of sports, Noble and Rogge emphasised.

Source: InfoPowa News

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