Spain: First Steps for Coordinating Measures against Match Fixing

By: Albert Agustinoy and Elisa Lorenzo, DLA Piper Spain

The Spanish General Directorate of Gaming Affairs (Dirección General de Ordenación del Juego – “DGOJ”) has recently held a first meeting with the some of the main licensed online sport bookmakers aimed at establishing a specific plan in order to fight against match fixing practices in Spain.

Such a plan would be given as a reaction to the actions adopted in the last months by the Spanish Professional Football Association (Liga de Fútbol Profesional – LFP) regarding a number of matches that took place last season in Spain and on which suspicions have arisen. As a  matter of fact, an investigation on this issue has been launched by the Public Prosecutor Office Against Corruption (“Fiscalía Anticorrupción“) and should lead to a clarification on the veracity or not of the said illegal fixing behaviors.

Nonetheless, while that investigation goes on, both the licensed online bookmakers and the authorities themselves have realized about the need to clarify how any such investigation should be articulated. Note at this respect that in the absence of clear guidelines from the competent authorities, the bookmakers find themselves in an uncomfortable position regarding sensitive question like, for example, the disclosure of information on their players without a formal investigation having been launched.

In this context, the aim of the DGOJ is to agree and enforce a set of measures that should allow the online gambling operators as well as the authorities count with standard procedures for detecting and reacting against this kind of practices.

In this early stage of the process, the DGOJ has started by requesting to the bookmakers that they show their concerns in regards of this illegal practices, in order to work together with the operators for the development of a successful system.

According to the first impressions gathered by the authorities, online gaming operators are particularly concerned about the following issues: (i) the competence of private entities (as LFP) to request information on players or on bets having been managed; (ii) the possibility of appointing an authority specifically empowered to deal with this particular issue and being able to centralize the management of this type of investigations;  (iii) the establishment of a determined and efficient communication procedure for these cases; and (iv) ensuring the protection of the players´ data.

As mentioned above, this process remains in its early stages but should lead to an agreed plan allowing the monitoring, detection and enforcement against these illegal behaviors where all the parties involved had a clear picture of their duties.