The International Betting Integrity Association (IBIA) and its member operators bet365, Betway and FanDuel have announced a commitment to establish and fund a best-in-class Canada-wide athlete education program.
The funding partners have pledged to invest at least CA$300,000 over three years in the program to address the potential threat to athletes, sport and the regulated market from sports betting related match-fixing and fraud.
The announcement was made at the high-level “Symposium on Competition Manipulation and Gambling in Sport” taking place in Toronto, an event co-sponsored by IBIA, bet365, Betway and FanDuel. It was launched in front of a distinguished audience including representatives of major Canadian and US sports, such as the CFL, CPL, Hockey Canada, NFL, NBA and NHL, and national and provisional governments and licensing and regulatory authorities, such as the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario and Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission.
The project funding partners are in active discussions regarding a delivery body, with the intention to finalise it in the coming weeks. The program will then be rolled out over the second half of this year and is intended to include face-to-face athlete training, an e-learning portal, anonymous reporting app and awareness raising material.
Jean-Francois Reymond, IBIA’s Education Ambassador and a former professional basketball player and Vice-President of the World Players Association, who has been a pioneer of sports integrity education since its inception, announced the project during his opening keynote speech. He informed the Symposium that: “Protecting the integrity of sport means protecting the integrity of athletes. Most often through a lack of awareness, it is the athletes who are risking their careers and livelihoods. Our objective is to build a best-in-class program for all athletes that serves to protect the integrity of Canadian sport and the careers of Canada’s athletes.”
Anthony Werkman, CEO of Betway, said: “Protecting the integrity of sport is key to what we do, so we’re delighted to be giving our commitment to working with our partners to fund and develop an effective athlete education program in Canada. As a global brand, we have a commitment to combatting any form of betting corruption, both globally and locally, and we look forward to working with the other members to help shape a better future for both sports organisations and regulators.”
Dale Hooper, GM, FanDuel Canada, said: “Maintaining the integrity of sport is essential to players’ safety and enjoyment—the pillars of what we do at FanDuel. As a newly-regulated market, we are committed to supporting educational programs in Ontario that will help increase understanding and protections for athletes, bettors, and beyond.”
Khalid Ali, CEO of IBIA, the leading global voice on integrity for the licensed betting industry, said: “IBIA is delighted that our members, such as bet365, Betway and FanDuel, are so committed to sports betting education and are prepared to invest in such an important initiative. All of the partners are excited to see the positive impact this project will have on maintaining the integrity of Canadian sport and the players themselves. For IBIA, sports integrity, and investing in the people that make sport happen, matters.”
A not-for-profit association, IBIA is the largest operator-run betting integrity monitoring body in the world, with over 120 sports betting brands generating approximately CA$185 billion (over US$137 billion) in total wagers placed per annum. It represents the majority of the betting operators licensed in Ontario, including the project co-financers bet365, Betway and FanDuel.