Adrenalin Spring 2020

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MATCH MANIPULATION: Are you taking it seriously? M atch manipulation and gambling in sport are two highly complex, quickly evolving and inextricably linked issues. On the match fixing side, athletes are vulnerable to grooming, recruitment and threats by organized crime. And while single-game betting is illegal in Canada, gamblers easily sidestep the rules by going online to access international betting sites. It's estimated that Canadians wager over $14 billion on single sports events through unregulated, illegal or offshore markets, and that global wagers bet $20 billion on Canadian sporting competitions each year. In October 2019, the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport (CCES) and McLaren Global Sport Solutions (MGSS) published a white paper with five key recommendations. The action plan is in response to discussions held earlier that year during the International Symposium on Match Manipulation & Gambling in Sport, which brought together stakeholders from national and international sport, athlete representatives, the legal community, regulatory agencies, academia, law enforcement and the gambling industry. Industry leaders say the Canadian sport system is at significant risk of match manipulation that can result from the pressures of sport gambling. They're lobbying the Canadian government to develop a national platform that would protect the integrity of sport as well as shield athletes from influence and corruption. Q+A with Paul Melia, President and CEO, Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport How can the federal government move forward on this topic? We would like to see a federal commission created to address this issue and develop a national approach. Let's not wait for a scandal to erupt in this country. Let's try and get ahead of it. We need to update the legislation in Canada and to create a better framework. I think the notion that the best way to protect against match manipulation in sport is to prevent single-game betting is a really outdated understanding of what's happening because online single-game betting is already happening. In some ways it's not dissimilar to how we've approached marijuana in this country by taking a harm reduction approach and by regulating and legislating the industry so we can control the quality and sale of the product, and at the same time government can realize some revenues from it through taxation. It's not a perfect system, of course, and it doesn't eliminate all of the black market. But I think a similar approach could be applied to the issue of gambling and sport. There needs to be an independent sport integrity unit in Canada to ensure sport organizations are taking steps to protect their sport and their athletes against match manipulation. We need a place that can receive anonymous calls so that it can be investigated independently. I think we need to look at how we can create a system where some of the proceeds from gambling find their way back to sport organizations. We're seeing that happening in the United States now. How can sport event organizers be proactive on this topic? It starts with educating oneself about the issue. As an event organizer, you should consider whether a policy around match manipulation, gambling and sport is appropriate and whether your sport organizations or host committees have athlete education programs and policies that address this issue. Continued on page 19 By Angela Kryhul ADRENALIN REPORTS 17 S P R I N G 2 0 2 0 | A D R E N A L I N A D R E N A L I N M A G . C A

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