Sports betting integrity body ESSA has revealed that 50 suspicious betting alerts were generated in the first quarter of 2018, with more than half of the cases concerning tennis.

For the first three months of the year, suspicious betting activity was flagged across nine sports. With 27 alerts, tennis was the main source of unusual betting patterns, followed by football with 11 cases.

Four alerts were generated on table tennis, with two each from volleyball and badminton, as well as one each for basketball, beach volleyball, ice hockey and esports.

"The publication of the interim report into integrity issues in tennis has understandably focused attention on that sport," ESSA secretary general Khalid Ali commented. "Tennis makes up over half of our alerts in the first quarter of 2018, but it is important to highlight that it is one of nine sports on which alerts were reported."

As a result, he said, ESSA had continued to expand its range of information-sharing agreements in Q1.

"This has seen important agreements concluded with the Rugby Football Union, International Cricket Council, State of Victoria Police, Portuguese gambling regulator and UEFA," Ali said. "In addition, ESSA's betting integrity officer was seconded to the IOC to help monitor the Winter Olympic Games.

"This proved to be a resounding success and will hopefully pave the way for similar stakeholder engagement and integrity partnership working with other sports during their high-profile events."

Looking ahead to the rest of 2018, Ali said that ESSA would continue to engage with lawmakers, and had submitted detailed to responses to consultations on gambling regulation in Greece and Portugal. It has also begun work in the US to prepare for any potential sports betting regulation.

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