Sportradar Integrity Services: using data to improve match-fixing detection

Sportradar Integrity Services: using data to improve match-fixing detection

In the latest of a series of insightful blogs, Sportradar’s EVP Integrity Services, Andreas Krannich, shares how the company’s access to betting data supports the integrity of global sports. Andreas Krannich, Sportradar

Without fair competition sport would lose not only its magic for fans but also its commercial value. At Sportradar we are strongly committed to safeguarding the integrity of sports, using our depth of data to maintain a level playing field that is fair and everyone can enjoy. 

At the centre of the converging sports betting and media markets Sportradar monitors 30 billion odds changes from more than 600 betting operators each year, and, for more than 15 year we have leveraged this data for the good of sport through our Integrity Services. 

At the heart of the company’s bet monitoring is our Universal Fraud Detection System (UFDS), powered by artificial intelligence (AI), which analyses more than 850,000 matches across 70-plus sports. But what makes our system truly stand out is the ability to catch new methods of match-fixing through a massive increase in the amount of data processed for each match. 

The UFDS uses all the sports betting data Sportradar offers to its betting operator clients as its core business. All matches and competitions offered by the company are monitored, providing visibility into betting patterns, odds movements and providing the ability to qualify all data. 

For our clients this guarantees the highest quality of monitoring and safeguarding to the integrity of sports betting. If a match within Sportradar’s betting portfolio looks suspicious the UFDS will send an immediate alert and appropriate steps can be taken by the client.

In addition, Sportradar also has access to extensive account-level betting data to add to the monitoring process, sourced directly from over 400 global bookmakers and brands. This data is available for integrity purposes through the company’s Managed Trading Services (MTS), a sportsbook management solution which supports betting operators with a variety of trading and risk management services. Data from operators is accessible to Sportradar Integrity Services in an anonymised manner, to ensure compliance with data privacy regulations. 

This account-level betting data covers over 16.5 million bet tickets per day, and its relevance to integrity is that it provides a full account of betting stakes placed on each selection in each individual market across a particular sporting event. From this, we are able to flag potentially suspicious activity at a deeper level to our team of integrity experts. 

Indeed, this account-level data visibility provides added strength and capabilities, as it can detect diverse types of match-fixing not reflected in traditional odds movements, and Sportradar Integrity Services are the only bet-monitoring provider to have this breadth of account-level data available.

A real-life example of how this data was used to uncover match-fixing can be illustrated through a suspicious tennis match Sportradar Integrity Services detected in 2022. Through an analysis of the account-level betting data, a clear pattern of suspicious data was identified, with a number of high liability tickets focussed on a specific outcome, namely for a doubles pairing to lose the first set of a match. 

This disproportionate betting can be demonstrated by the fact that nearly the entire recorded betting turnover (99%) in the first set winner market was for this outcome. A report was subsequently prepared for the relevant partner outlining the key areas of suspicion to support any further investigation. 

Sportradar Integrity Services’ results speak for themselves: in 2022 alone, we detected and reported over 1,200 suspicious matches – a record number for a calendar year since the inception of our system. More than half of these matches (51%) were identified using account-level betting data, and in three sports (table tennis, tennis, and handball), this data was pivotal in identifying most or all of the suspicious matches. 

Such account-level betting data is critical for an innovative bet monitoring solution, and it is thanks to Sportradar’s operations in the betting business that the Integrity Services can access this for the greater good of global sport. 

Our well-established links with betting operators also enabled us to launch the Sportradar Integrity Exchange (SIE) in April 2022. This network – which now has 42 global operators signed up – enables bookmakers to play an active role in the fight against match-fixing, by proactively reporting incidents of irregular betting activity that can help to detect suspicious matches and initiate the investigative process. 

While we worked closely with many of these operators before, this helped to formalise the relationship with the integrity side of the business. This is a service offered at no cost, creating a two-way exchange of integrity information between the Integrity Services and global bookmakers, and across 2022, there were over 300 matches flagged by betting operators to the SIE in 11 sports. This led to over 100 matches being classified as suspicious and reported to our league, federation, national platform, and law enforcement partners. 

2022 was a record year for Sportradar Integrity Services and its partners in helping to combat match-fixing. A record 169 sanctions in 14 different sports across 21 countries were imposed due to the Integrity Services collaboration with sports federations and the criminal courts. 

This illustrates a clear upward trend in terms of positive results in the fight against match-fixing and has been assisted tremendously in recent years by the addition of this account-level betting data which detects more matches and has developed more leads for investigators. Large numbers of matches continue to be reported and acted upon thanks to account-level betting data through 2023-to-date, and its value will only grow further in the coming years.

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