Netherlands

Error in new gambling law creates ‘more risk of match fixing’, sports associations angry

Contrary to what was promised, signals of match fixing may not be shared with sports associations. Starting in October, online gambling companies that see suspicious things must keep it secret and only report it to the government’s Financial Intelligence Unit. Whether these signals will be investigated and whether they will ever end up in sports is therefore very much the question.

The discovery has led to great frustration in recent months, sports associations tell the NOS. “This has increased the chance that we will become more susceptible to match fixing”, concludes secretary-general Gijs de Jong of the KNVB. Gerard Dielessen, general manager of NOC * NSF, calls it a “huge problem” for the sport. NOGA, the industry association of online gambling companies, joins this. “This problem must be solved as soon as possible”, says director Peter-Paul de Goeij.

The drafting of the law has been the subject of consultation for years. The Remote Games of Chance Act (Koa), which regulates that online betting offices such as Unibet and Bet365 may legally offer online gambling from October, should also start the approach to match fixing in the Netherlands. According to this law, every online bookmaker with a license in the Netherlands must report suspicious signals to the competition organization and the relevant association.

Badminton

This is not mandatory yet. For example, the badminton association was told that two suspicious matches had been played in the Netherlands in 2017. The report came from IBIA, the international integrity organization of betting offices. He then did not want to tell which matches were involved, nor at which betting office suspicious things had been seen. For that reason, the case was never investigated in the Netherlands. That problem could no longer arise with the new law.

It was therefore a shock, last December, when representatives of the KNVB and NOC * NSF were told that the new gambling law will not regulate what they were promised – despite years of preparation. “It was a huge surprise for us,” says Dielessen. A few months earlier, Justice and Security officials had already come to the same conclusion.

Money laundering

What apparently no lawyer at the ministry had noticed before was that the Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing Prevention Act (Wwft) stipulates that everything that may have to do with money laundering must be reported to the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) and must be kept secret.

Because match fixing often involves criminal money that is used, sometimes with the aim of laundering that money, any signal of match fixing falls under the Wwft. The obligation to report in the new gambling law for gambling offices to inform sports associations, therefore appears to be a sham on closer inspection.

Even smaller matters, such as an athlete who bets on their own competition, may therefore no longer be reported to the sports association. Last month it became clear that footballer Jordy Clasie has bet on matches in the Eredivisie, something that is not allowed. Bwin betting office had reported this. That should no longer be allowed from October, confirms the Gaming Authority.

Half a million

It is unclear whether and how quickly the FIU can pick up any signal. The service itself believes that it “has an excellent starting position to thoroughly investigate reports about match fixing”. Every year, the FIU receives about half a million reports from banks, civil-law notaries and accountants about suspicious transactions. “Reports about match fixing certainly have our attention,” reports the FIU. “But it is not the case that it can be stated in advance that reports regarding match fixing will be dealt with urgently”.

Even once a suspicious signal has been sorted out by the FIU, it may not be shared with sports associations. Only if after an investigation it appears that there is “sufficient ground to declare a transaction suspicious” can the FIU share it with the police. The latter, in turn, can decide to share information that may be legally shared with sports organizations.

Error in new gambling law creates ‘more risk of match fixing’, sports associations angry
Source link Error in new gambling law creates ‘more risk of match fixing’, sports associations angry

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