Tennis makes an all too regular appearance in reports from ESSA. In fact, 31 of the 53 cases in the last report published by the international betting integrity body related to suspicious betting activity in the sport.
At last week’s Betting on Sports conference, increasing the integrity of tennis and reducing instances of match fixing was discussed in great depth, with LeoVegas’ Head of Sports Andreas Bardun saying: “Those that match fix are the real enemies of the bookies. We don’t want to see it either.”
Bardun added that the real challenge for bookmakers in tackling match fixing “has always been proving what is a fixed match.”
Matt Fowler, Betting Integrity Officer at ESSA, revealed that he believes there is “a lot of uncertainty in tennis at the moment”. He went on to emphasise just how important it is for betting operators that any foul play is cleared from tennis, stating that “we have a significant stake in wanting a clean sport.”
The panel were in unison in agreeing that is of the utmost importance that the punishments for match fixing and not cooperating with authorities remain strong enough to deter any potential future offenders.
Phil Suddick, Integrity Manager at the Tennis Integrity Unit (TIU), commended the fact that he has recently seen “a number of successful hearings where a player was banned for life, or banned for ten years, which is essentially a ban for life.”
The most recent punishment handed out by the TIU was to Romanian Marius Frosa, who was fined $1,000 and suspended for eight months for having three online betting accounts. Prior to his suspension, Frosa was just 21 years old and was ranked 2037 in singles tennis.