Calvi: COVID Created Sports Betting Exploitation Opportunities

Global Lottery Monitoring System (GLMS) has published its mid-term report for 2020, citing increased illegal activity on the sports betting front and strong progress made by the association during the first half of the year.

GLMS reported in its analysis of continent and sport warnings that North America had received 13 warnings, including seven alerts for soccer, four for tennis and two for hockey. Eight alerts were seen in South America-six for soccer and two for tennis.

In his opening remarks, President Ludovico Calvi said that the suspension of traditional sports tournaments worldwide due to the outbreak of Covid-19 provided a “space of opportunity for malefactors to exploit and manipulate sports betting across the globe.”

Calvi stated: “I have personally observed an extremely busy period during the last three months with the detection of mounting irregular and suspicious betting activities. As our sport integrity association reacted promptly to the new and unexpected threats through our Integrity Hubs in Copenhagen, Hong Kong and Montreal, together with members and partners, we have never been so busy as we have in this period in fighting the phenomena of ghost matches and match fixing.”

Calvi reported that there was an growing number of “matches” instances during the last quarter that never really took place, but were advertised on the web with the intention of profiting at the detriment of naive public and betting operators.

He said: “Criminal organisations have been very active since the outbreak of Covid-19, seizing any opportunity – even during a pandemic crisis – to further their illicit activities. As a result, GLMS has increased the level of vigilance and intelligence monitoring and will do more so in the upcoming months.

“Additional threats are likely to continue to materialise while sport events resume in a usually quiet sporting period of the year, given that the financial crisis has adversely impacted countless sport organisations globally, which in turn, may increase the level of risk-taking and vulnerability of athletes and sport stakeholders.”