MGM Launch US Sports Betting Watchdog Group SWIMA
MGM Resorts and Caesars Entertainment have led the formation of the non-profit Sports Wagering Integrity Monitoring Association (SWIMA) that will partner with regulators, law enforcement, and other stakeholders to identify betting fraud.
The formation of this group was initiated by New Jersey’s legislation on sports wagering. SWIMA, which is based in Atlantic City, announced that most major betting operators have already joined its board of delegates, with the expectation that eventually there will be full compliance in all jurisdictions. MGM Resorts chief compliance officer Stephen Martino, who was formerly chief gaming regulator in Maryland and Kansas, and Caesars’ EVP of public policy and corporate responsibility, Jan Jones, will serve as inaugural trustees.
“Every operator who has unusual or suspicious activity that they see—whether it be fraud or potential match-fixing—is required to notify every other operator and required to notify the gaming regulator, who will then notify law enforcement, if need be, and will also notify the leagues, if it impacts them,” said David Rebuck, the director of the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement.
MGM Resorts CEO Jim Murren said the new group will both monitor integrity issues and responsibly support problem gaming. He noted that the appointment of his company’s chief compliance officer shows how seriously they are taking the matter.
“We’re quite proud of efforts in responsible gaming and problem gaming issues, and that’s an area that we focus on quite a bit,” Murren said, adding: “We can assure that we’re looking at this very honestly, clear-headed, clear-eyed, and deal with problem gaming issues if they arise.”
Funding for SWIMA will be derived from the sportsbook operators and will not draw on any public money or any financial support from the sports leagues. The first chief integrity officer charged with overseeing SWIMA’s day-to-day functions is George Rover, a former assistant attorney general and deputy director of the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement.
“We are excited to roll out the first Integrity Monitoring Association in the United States, ensuring a safe and secure betting environment for consumers across the country,” Rover said in a statement. “We look forward to partnering with gaming regulators and law enforcement in all states that legalize sports betting to undermine fraud and manipulation and protect the integrity of sports betting.”
The group’s European counterpart, ESSA (Sports Betting Integrity), assisted with the creation of SWIMA to ensure a quick rollout, and the two organizations will continue collaborating on monitoring the market.
“The formation of the Sports Wagering Integrity Monitoring Association (SWIMA) serves as another important milestone toward realizing the benefits of a legal, regulated sports betting market in the United States, which provides robust consumer protection, increased transparency and additional tax revenues for state and local governments,” Sara Slane, SVP of public affairs for the American Gaming Association, said in a statement. “Today’s announcement comes at a critical time as dozens of states and sovereign tribal nations are poised to pursue legal sports betting in 2019. Moving forward, SWIMA will provide an important hub for all stakeholders to work together, further demonstrating the industry’s commitment to upholding integrity across all facets of a legal, regulated sports betting market.”