IBIA speaks out in favour of global sports data standards

22nd May 2020 8:22 am GMT

The International Betting Integrity Association (IBIA) has called for an industry-wide debate about global sports data standards.

The IBIA said that all parties engaged in the supply of sports event data for betting should adhere to global best practice standards, after data supplier Stats Perform called for the industry be regulated by an independent body.

“Upholding the reliability and credibility of sporting event data is of paramount importance for my members and the challenges posed by the pandemic have further highlighted the necessity for robust data chains,” said IBIA chief executive Khalid Ali. “There is a clear benefit for everyone involved in the data supply chain in ensuring that such data is a product of high levels of accuracy and transparency.”

The calls follow recent instances of suspected “ghost games” and an increase in betting activity on obscure leagues, which have continued during the COVID-19 lockdown as most major leagues suspended play.

Andrew Ashenden, chief betting officer at Stats Perform, commented: “As a truly global sports entity, with considerable business across the media and professional sports sectors as well as betting, trust in sport is paramount to us, as well as being vital for all our customers and the sports industry itself. Over many years we have invested in an unparalleled integrity and quality control infrastructure and that investment continues to be at the heart of our operations.

“Data integrity issues wherever they originate are harmful for the industry and we are looking forward to contributing our expertise via the IBIA and its members on the development of global best practice. We have always maintained that collaboration in this space across sporting federations, governing bodies, third party integrity providers, regulators, operators and data suppliers is vital.”

Ali added: “IBIA and its members have been considering this issue internally for some time and would like to go a step further and have a proper industry-wide debate. To that end, IBIA is asking all stakeholders, notably data providers, to proactively engage with the association and its members to develop and implement agreed best practice standards around the sale, collation and distribution of sports data for betting.”

Sports data and integrity services supplier Sportradar has spoken out in favour of regulation, telling Gaming Intelligence: “Protecting the integrity of live sport is our utmost priority. We are supportive of measures that would ensure consistently high standards across the industry in the ongoing fight against match fixing. We already meet licensing requirements that apply to data suppliers in jurisdictions where such measures exist and we are open to the development of a set of standards that could apply more widely.”

That was echoed by Genius Sports chief executive Mark Locke. “Genius Sports would of course welcome greater transparency and co-operation in the sports data industry to ensure operators and consumers are protected,” he said. “We believe that sports need to be included in the conversation, and our long held view is that the safest way to collect and verify data is where the sports have sanctioned and approved that collection and distribution.”

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