International edition
September 18, 2020

To help monitor irregular betting patterns and the companies' finances

IOC wants betting operators to be licensed by the government

(UK).- The International Olympic Committee has urged governments around the world to tighten gambling legislation and force bookmakers to pay a proportion of their revenues to sports bodies.

T

he president of the IOC, Jacques Rogge, called for urgent measures and the sports minister, Hugh Robertson, said Britain was prepared to lead the way in coordinating international action on illegal gambling and match fixing.

More controversially, Rogge also called on governments to legislate to ensure that a proportion of betting revenues flowed back into sport, partly to help fund the fight against match fixing.

"Specifically we are in favor of a system where betting operators have to be licensed by the government," said Rogge, adding this would help monitor irregular betting patterns and the companies' finances.

"Sports organizers, national federations and international federations would have a fair return for all their efforts for organizing the sport. They should be recognized with a return from financial income."

The debate around a so-called "betting right", which would be bitterly resisted by bookmakers, is likely to intensify in the UK later this year after the government resolved to come up with an alternative to the horse racing Levy.

The legal betting industry argues that it already contributes substantially to sport in the form of marketing spend and broadcasting fees and that the main driver of match fixing is the vast unlicensed market in Asia.

Rogge, who said that the IOC had yet to detect any suspicious activity at the Olympics but has previously, likened the threat from illegal gambling to that from doping, called for greater cooperation between governments and sports bodies.

"We can't be complacent. The integrity of sport is paramount. Fans must be confident that what they are seeing in front of them is fair and true. A unified, international approach can help tackle this threat head on," Robertson said.

"We need all sports to work with us on this and have clear penalties in place for those that jeopardize true competition in sport. Educating players must also be a crucial part of the solution. I welcome the IOC taking on this issue and we will help by sharing best practice from our approach in this country and offering to lead, or support, any future international initiatives," he concluded.

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