Print this Post

Gambling Commission publishes paper looking at the role of the Joint Assessment Unit at the London Olympic Games

The Gambling Commission has published a paper looking at the role of the Joint Assessment Unit (the “JAU”) at the London Olympic Games.

The task of the JAU was to provide a mechanism for the collection, collation and assessment of information in order to combat corruption at the Games. The key actors in the JAU were the Gambling Commission’s Sports Betting Intelligence Unit and the International Olympic Committee with the support of other stakeholders including the Metropolitan Police and LOCOG. It also sought involvement from betting operators themselves. The intention was for the JAU to help ensure that information relating to any corrupt activity at the Games could be received and processed as quickly as possible during the Games and for appropriate responses to be decided.

The paper (which may be found here: Gambling Commission – JAU Paper) provides an interesting insight into the work of the JAU – including a summary of lessons learnt.

The anti-corruption measures put in place for the Games are widely recognised to have been a success, with there being no publicised identification of corruption linked to gambling (although it should be noted that the JAU’s monitoring of betting was restricted to the regulated markets). The paper provides an overview of the work of the JAU and states that apart from one very minor alert none of the cases dealt with by the JAU were driven by unusual betting patterns – with the stakeholders being reassured in all cases that any unusual activity within sport was not related to corrupt sports betting integrity. Also, looking at the cases considered by the JAU during the games, the paper summarises that none of them were shown to involve criminal activity.

The paper also provides some revealing analysis of the type of betting that took place on the Games based on data provided to the Commission by 33 UK licensed betting operators. While the Commission notes that precise analysis was difficult due to varying levels of information provided by betting operators, it does highlight some key findings including that – as expected before the Games – betting levels for London were much higher than for the Beijing Games in 2008 (with betting in some cases increasing tenfold). The Commission also reports that most betting was through remote channels, and that football was the largest market, representing 20-25% of all Olympics bets, with the men’s 100m final reported as attracting the most bets on a single event.

In addition to this analysis, the Commission also summarises various learning points from the experience of using the JAU approach – which was the first time such an approach had been deployed to a major sporting event. One such learning point presented by the Commission is that the early engagement of the relevant stakeholders and agreement of high level operating principles was a critical factor in the success of the project. The major benefit of early consultation being that a level of trust and understanding was built between the various parties that allowed for the effective and timely exchange of information. The Commission also referred to the importance of maintaining good relationships with betting operators through industry associations, and emphasised that the JAU should make operators aware of their contribution and that their input is appreciated.

In summary, the Commission notes that the indications are that the JAU was a success in that it provided an effective mechanism to identify suspected corrupt activity and to support the relevant decision makers at the Games. It has also provided a template for future events organisers which – while it would need to be tailored to specific circumstances – has shown itself to work effectively in the context of a high profile, international sporting event.

Permanent link to this article: https://blogs.dlapiper.com/mediaandsport/2013/03/gambling-commission-publishes-paper-looking-at-the-role-of-the-joint-assessment-unit-at-the-london-olympic-games/