US Sportsbooks Form Integrity Monitoring Group To Combat Illegal Activity

The burgeoning legal US sports betting industry has come up with a plan to police itself. In fact, on Tuesday, the top sportsbook operators in the country announced the formation of the Sports Wagering Integrity Monitoring Association (SWIMA).

Firstly, the nonprofit organization is designed to detect and discourage fraud and other illegal or unethical activity related to sports.

Above all, this looks like a response to the call for integrity monitoring from major sports leagues across the US. Plus, in particular, the NFL asking the federal government set up a federal sports betting framework to guide state legislation and protect the integrity of US sports at a Congressional House Subcommittee Hearing on Sports Betting in late September.

Preventing game fixing and corruption

Firstly, according to a SWIMA press release, the organization will collaborate with state and tribal gaming regulators in its efforts to prevent game fixing and any other corruption related to betting on sports. Additionally, SWIMA also plans to partner with federal, state and tribal law enforcement, and other various sports betting stakeholders.

SWIMA claims its goal is to protect consumers, operators, and other legal US sports betting stakeholders from fraud caused by “the unfair manipulation of events on which betting is offered.”

Additionally, it claims reaching this goal requires a multi-jurisdictional approach and the sharing of information.

The organization’s core objectives include:

  • Providing a safe and secure betting environment in the legal markets across the country
  • Protecting the integrity of sports betting, detecting bad actors and discouraging nefarious activities

Former NJDGE deputy director to run the show

SWIMA has appointed George Rover, its chief integrity officer. Rover will be responsible for running the organization on a day-to-day basis. Rover previously worked as deputy director of the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement. He worked with the NJ gaming regulator from January 1999 until his retirement from public service in November 2016:

“We are excited to roll out the first Integrity Monitoring Association in the United States, ensuring a safe and secure betting environment for consumers across the country. We look forward to partnering with gaming regulators and law enforcement in all states that legalize sports betting to undermine fraud and manipulation and protect the integrity of sports betting.”

SWIMA claims its initial members will include most major sports betting operators across the US. Plus, the organization will expand as sports betting spreads to new jurisdictions with new operators.

Members will each be represented on SWIMA’s Board of Delegates. However, the organization will also include a Board of Trustees. The initial Board of Trustees will include:

  • MGM Resorts International Senior Vice President & Chief Compliance Officer Stephen Martino
  • Caesars Entertainment Executive Vice President of Public Policy and Corporate Responsibility and former Las Vegas Mayor Jan Jones

Sports betting operators will fund SWIMA on their own, with no state or federal government aid.

The AGA gives SWIMA the thumbs up

American Gaming Association Senior VP of Public Affairs Sara Slane said SWIMA will help the US realize the benefits of legal sports betting:

“The formation of (SWIMA) serves as another important milestone toward realizing the benefits of a legal, regulated sports betting market in the United States, which provides robust consumer protection, increased transparency and additional tax revenues for state and local governments. Today’s announcement comes at a critical time as dozens of states and sovereign tribal nations are poised to pursue legal sports betting in 2019. Moving forward, SWIMA will provide an important hub for all stakeholders to work together, further demonstrating the industry’s commitment to upholding integrity across all facets of a legal, regulated sports betting market.”

Seven states have joined Nevada in launching full-scale sports betting since the US Supreme Court lifted the federal ban:

Martin Derbyshire

About

Martin Derbyshire has more than ten years of experience reporting on the poker, online gambling, and land-based casino industries for a variety of publications including Bluff Magazine, PokerNews, and PokerListings. He has traveled extensively, attending tournaments and interviewing major players in the gambling world.