An independent panel formed two years, to investigate allegations of match-fixing in tennis has tabled its report on Monday. The panel was formed by the governing bodies of tennis after news of a widespread match-fixing was reported by BBC and Buzzfeed. The panel has reported that lower levels of tennis do reel under corruption.
Sports Data is the culprit
The findings by the three-member lawyer team have identified that betting markets had access to match data of low-level games and thus influenced the ecosystem. The panel concluded that the data firm, Sportradar which had the $70 million contract with the International Tennis Federation was responsible for the data leak. The panel recommended the cancellation of the agreement with immediate effect.
Though the recommendations were by the British tennis governing body, the implications for the USA tennis federation are higher. The country’s highest court is considering a suit on the prohibition of sports betting. The findings of the tennis panel and the involvement of sports-data in sports betting do have negative effects. The legislators in the US are now reconsidering their proposals, in the background of the British ruling. At the same time, they await the ruling of their supreme court to redesign their own sports betting offers. They are considering structuring the laws so as negate corruption.
The US has had to deal with other types of sports data influencing bookmakers in the past, as in the case of The National Basketball Association as well as the Major League Baseball. They contend that bookmakers are entitled to use official data feeds, apart from having a say in the offering of these bets. If these restrictions come into force, then it would be limiting gambling on events and games, it is being said. These restrictions will eventually lead to higher corruption risks they contend.
The company, in the eye of the data-sale to third-party booking marketers, has defended itself and disagreed with the report. In a media release, Sportradar stated that “Prohibiting data partnerships will not stop betting, life or otherwise, on these matches nor will it remove corruption risk at this level.”
Sports Legal honchos, such as Tom Russell of Genius Sports, Sportradar’s competitor states that ‘sports-data’ and its control by the league along with data partners is at a crucial stage of legislation. He concluded that, if there is no restriction then, it is a free for all and data is accessible to every type of betting market. Sportradar claims that terminating its deal is ‘unrealistic’ and could have legal complications if they are considered illegal.
Use of Sports data in the USA
The recommendation of the tennis panel to suspend use of sports-data by betting markets will have far-reaching implications for the sports industry in the USA. According to Declan Hill, a resource person, an expert on betting corruption state that North America has awoken to betting on sports, only now. In countries such as Estonia and Lithuania, sixth-level soccer games or highland Caber tossing in Gaelic are being “gambled upon.”