Business News

International betting integrity body ESSA welcomes the European Parliament’s own-initiative report on good governance in sport and integrity. Drafted by Finnish MEP Hannu Takkula (ALDE), the report focuses on improving governance standards as a means of addressing key issues such as match-fixing and to develop a culture of transparency within the sports sector.

On match-fixing, the report highlights a number of mitigating actions, including enhanced international cooperation amongst relevant stakeholders, including licensed betting operators and player educational programmes, which ESSA has already been engaged in for a number of years.

The report also urges the European Commission to publish its Recommendation on match-fixing. ESSA has and will continue to engage in the development of this Recommendation with the Commission on behalf of its members and the wider regulated betting sector.

The parliamentary report also recommends that licensed betting operators be subject to a mandatory financial return to grassroots sport. The gambling industry already pays significant levels of direct (e.g. betting tax) and indirect (e.g. licence fees) in the EU and it is up to each State to decide how to allocate those gambling revenues and to which sector. It should, however, be noted that the 2016 Report by the European Commission Expert Group on Grassroots Sport did not list among its recommendations that sports betting should contribute directly to grassroots sport. Such an approach would also need to comply with state aid regulations.

ESSA actively engages in numerous activities aimed at preventing match-fixing. This includes a player education programme with EU Athletes and an international project titled “Keep Crime out of Sport” led by the Council of Europe, both receive funding from the European Commission.