December 13, 2007

Monopolies accused of using sports-betting corruption fears to ‘prop up failing case’

Allegations from the European State Lotteries and Toto Association (ESLTA) that “uncontrolled expansion” of online sports-betting opportunities has “facilitated attempts to rig matches” have been strongly rejected by the Remote Gambling Association (RGA).

The complaints follow the news last week that European football's governing body UEFA is investigating claims that 26 recent Champions League, UEFA Cup and World Cup qualifiers may have been affected by betting-related corruption.

The ESLTA is reported to have complained about a “growing number of actual and attempted manipulations of sporting competitions through betting”.

But Clive Hawkswood, chief executive of the RGA, accused the ESLTA of taking advantage of UEFA’s action "to prop up its failing case to maintain control of sports-betting services by state monopolies.”

Hawkswood pointed out that regulated private betting operators were “regulated to the same standard as state monopolies, if not better”. He added that it was the betting companies themselves that would be the victims of any match-fixing.

“Furthermore, all out members will collaborate to the extent of the law with the competent authorities on any case of alleged match-fixing. The integrity of sports is of fundamental importance to all betting operators because they provide our core products. Wherever possible we are committed to working with sporting authorities to address any problems which arise and that will continue to be the case.”