his session will put a laser focus on ways gaming operators and sports’ governing bodies can work together in this restoration effort. The panel will bring together perspectives from operators, players, the International Olympic Committee, the Malta Gaming Authority and the Malta Football Association to provide the audience with an unparalleled look into the issues from all the necessary angles.
The seventh annual MiGS conference over 16-19 November at the Corinthia Hotel in St. George’s Bay, Malta will tackle the relevant yet thorny issue. The session will be moderated by Lee Richardson, whose 10+ years experience includes senior roles with totalbet.com, Coral-Eurobet plc, Chartwell Games and Boylesports and is currently CEO of GamingEconomics.com. His depth of knowledge across a broad spectrum of the iGaming industry brings unique perspective to the recent controversies. Mr. Richardson underscores the significance of the issue by saying, "This important topic continues to attract headlines around the world. Last year, the MiGS delegates were both enthralled and appalled, by the story of match fixing in football delivered by Declan Hill. Since then, we've had high profile match fixing cases in England, Italy and Spain, plus a heavily criticised Federbet Report into the issue as well as the ongoing and far reaching FIFA scandal, which alleges systemic corruption at the very heart of the sport.”
Franz Tabone, the Malta Football Association’s Integrity Officer will also participate in the session as a panelist. Mr. Tabone’s main focus in his role as Integrity Officer is safeguarding the sport itself. Mr. Tabone commented, “The sweeping statements made lately by Federbet about Maltese football do not have a solid enough base to prove outright match fixing or who the perpetrators might be. At the same time, we acknowledge that local football is tainted and needs a concerted approach by all stakeholders and not criticism to safeguard the integrity of the sport”.
To share a law enforcement perspective, Chief Investigations and Enforcement Officer for the Malta Gaming Authority, Dominic Micallef, will also appear on the Sport and Betting panel. Mr. Micallef balances the panel with his insider knowledge of the patterns and evidence available to prosecute those with culpability in fixing matches.
Dr. Birgit Bosch, COO at Interwetten Gaming Ltd and Board Member of Malta Remote Gaming Council (MRGC), will bring an operator’s perspective to the panel. Dr. Bosch’s responsibilities include reviewing European markets’ licensing and compliance with the standards of the European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA). To round out the panel’s perspectives, John Barnes covers the view from the field as a former player with Liverpool, manager of Celtic and current ESPN and SuperSport commentator.
Mr. Richardson points out that football isn’t the only sport whose integrity is being questioned. “In its latest Integrity Report, ESSA reported that tennis attracted the highest share of suspicious alerts in 2015 to date. All of this clearly shows a worrying trend and, across Europe, politicians are demanding action, and the strengthening of laws to combat this crime.”
To broaden the discussion across global sports, panelist Friedrich Martens joins the session as Head of Integrity Betting Intelligence System in the Ethics and Compliance Office of the International Olympic Committee.
MiGS delegates from any gaming sector will benefit from this discussion. Mr. Richardson boils it down as a must-attend by commenting, “I believe every sports governing authority, and their participants, need to work in collaboration with the sports-betting industry to help identify long-term, sustainable solutions. This is critical if we're to retain the trust of the sports betting customer. I think our panel at MiGs can be a useful contribution to that initiative."