EL CODE OF CONDUCT ON SPORTS BETTING
For the purpose of this code of conduct the following words shall have the meaning as defined hereby: “European Lotteries”: the “European Lotteries and Toto Association” is an independent European association composed of State Lottery and Toto companies established in Europe. Gambling: all types of games, including lotteries and betting transactions, involving wagering a stake with monetary value in games in which participants may win, in full or in part, a monetary prize based, totally or partially, on chance or uncertainty of an outcome.
Sports betting: all sports betting-based games (i.e. fixed and running odds, totalisator / toto games, live betting, other games and football pools offered by sports betting operators, etc.) are included. Sports: all physical human activities with specific rules, shared by a great number of participants, and involving competition among the different participants. Olympic sports, sports having as one’s purpose to become Olympic sports and minor sports may be included in sports.
EL sports betting members: all members of “European Lotteries and Toto Association” involved in sports betting. Regulator: local, regional or national authority giving explicit permission to operate one or various games on a specific territory or jurisdiction. Official operator: organisation that has received explicit permission to operate one or various games on a specific territory or jurisdiction by a regulator or by the government.
- FIFA: Fédération Internationale de Football Association
- UEFA: Union of European Football Associations
- EL: European Lotteries
- WLA: World Lottery Association
- Sports betting personnel: all employees of EL sports betting members in contact with sports betting (e.g. odds compilers, product managers and risk managers involved in sports betting, head of sports betting)
I – CONSIDERATIONS
Considering that seven important and basic elements unite the EL members operating sports betting:
- LAW: for EL sports betting members, an official operator abides by the law of each and every jurisdiction where he operates;
- REGULATION: for EL members, all games available to customers are in compliance with the regulatory authorization issued in each country where such games are offered. The supply is regulated in quantity so as not to stimulate gaming. The supply is regulated in intensity so as not to provoke addictive gaming. The supply is also regulated by taxation means ;
- CONTROL: EL member’s regulation is carried on by relevant State authorities, regulators and Government Audit Offices;
- ETHIC: EL members are driven by important ethical principles. For this reason, EL members operating sports betting will avoid any conflict of interest which could affect their mission;
- CUSTOMERS RESPECT: for EL members, players are not gamblers and betting addiction problems have to be avoided. EL sports betting members provide attractive games to a wide group of people betting reasonable stakes ;
- SPORTS VALUES: EL members aim, in line with the European Sports policy, at serving grass root, amateur and professional sports without supporting excessive commercialisation. EL members fully respect sports integrity and values. EL members choose betting on sports events because they are fair and entertain the public, not for business purposes or without consideration to the risks they lead to;
- STAKEHOLDERS: EL sports betting members’ shareholders are States or reputable organisations that care about their civil and public obligations and role in society in a financially transparent and socially responsible way. As they fulfil their mission to channel the betting desire and to limit the private profits made with gambling, they are proud, as a natural consequence, to contribute to the general interest and to fund good causes in society.
II – CODE OF CONDUCT OBJECTIVES
The EL Code of Conduct on sports betting aims at satisfying the following objectives:
- to reaffirm that the mission of the EL members operating sports betting goes far beyond sports funding which is only an ancillary and pleasant consequence of the channeling gaming desire objective;
- to implement actual mechanisms to fight corruption in sport and money laundering, and to promote responsible gaming;
- in the event of a joint enterprise between several official operators (for example a coordinated European sports betting game), to ensure that all participating operators share the same values;
- to benefit other stakeholders in the sporting realm by acting as an example of sporting responsibility;
- to benefit all citizens by channelling the desire of gaming in a responsible manner, so avoiding the supply of sports betting in jurisdictions where operators are not properly and seriously regulated and licensed. In particular, offering games for the jurisdiction where local, regional and / or national authorities have given explicit permission to operate for the specific approved games.
This Code is taken in execution of and related to the “European Lotteries responsible gaming standards”.
The Code will also consider and apply the experience of the “Matchinfo Group” (a group of EL members offering sports betting).
Each signatory of the code undertakes to complete and send Appendix 1, which states the national details specific to the signatory for the various sections, to the EL office no later than three months after the ratification of this document. Any new measure or modification to be deployed within the official operators shall be in place no later than six months after.
III – FIGHTING AGAINST GAMBLING RISKS
3.1 Fighting against corruption in sport
3.1.1 Selecting fixtures and bet types
Signatories are committed to carefully select the fixtures, other sport events and bet types offered for sports betting. Thereby they will refrain from offering betting activities with regard to such championships, sport events or meetings with risks of corruption, derisory financial stakes or potentially in position to be influenced in an obvious way.
3.1.2 Conflicts of interest
The global development of sports betting, linked to the increased popularity of the internet, is creating additional risks that must be taken into account. Financial means and interests involved in gaming are often so great that they sometimes exceed the sporting issues. In these circumstances, rules must be put in place to prevent partners from stepping out of line in this area:
- For the EL sports betting members having signed this code, this means:
- abstaining from acquiring a majority share in a sports club or links with a sportsperson;
- not being a significant (i.e. that may be able to influence) partner of a sports team (or of a sportsperson) that might be involved in sports used for the purpose of organising betting. More particularly, this means that an official operator mainly sponsoring a professional football club or other sports club (or team) must never have any influence on the sports decisions taken by the club (or team).
Should this in fact be the case, it must make sure that it never includes the club (or sportsperson) in its sports betting offer;
- an operator which is a signatory of this code must not acquire a sportsperson on behalf of a professional team, or hire a sportsperson at its expense in a competition in which it organises wagers (for example an athletics meeting or a professional tennis tournament). However the signatories are entitled to use advertising with athletes or sportspersons, when there is no way to influence them in their sport activities;
- unless they exclude the sport in question from their sports betting offer, all official operators’ sponsorship contracts must state that the official operator plays absolutely no role and has no direct influence on the sports relations and decisions taken by the team or the event.
In regards to the employees of EL sports betting members in contact with sports betting:
- employees working for an official operator and acting in the sports world must avoid ethical conflicts;
- sports betting personnel cannot be involved in the management of sports teams included in their betting offer. This means ownership, daily management, board members. If this is the case, the team cannot be offered for bets
- sports betting personnel involved in odds compiling of a particular league or an event cannot be present in the team squads. This means players, managers, trainers. If this is the case, the team cannot be offered for bets
- sports betting personnel cannot act as referees. If this is the case, the event cannot be offered for bets;
- sports betting personnel cannot bet on their fixed odds betting product. Signatories will support action from football organisers to prevent players, coaches or club managers from betting on their own teams (or any other team in the same championship), in line with the agreement signed by the European Lotteries and UEFA. Those signing are willing to help and advise sports organisations in issues related to betting and possible scenarios that undermine the integrity of sports due to betting.
3.1.3 Monitoring against betting irregularities and match-fixing
- European Lotteries and UEFA have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (cf. Appendix 2). The EL sports betting members involved will voluntarily provide UEFA with information on irregular betting patterns on UEFA competition matches.
- World Lotteries Association and FIFA have signed a Memorandum of Understanding. The EL sports betting members involved will voluntarily provide FIFA with information on irregular betting patterns on FIFA competition matches.
- Individual official operators have signed Memorandums of Understanding with the sports federations of their home country.
Official operators work together on monitoring through the Matchinfo Group and have to report specific observations of irregular betting in their country to each other. For each incident an expert group within Matchinfo / European Lotteries will analyse the information and decide whether to report the incident to the relevant sports federation. The signatories undertake to participate in this monitoring network.
Escalation steps in monitoring:
- Rumours received either via the retailers or other specific information sources, totally independent from turnover figures.
- Slight turnover irregularity not causing direct action at the official operator but causing more awareness of the match.
- Strong turnover irregularity, may be connected with rumors about match-fixing, which lead to reactions like odds-changing.
- Very strong turnover irregularities may be connected with rumors about match-fixing, which leads to heavy reactions like closure of betting on the match or outcomes or excluding retailers/customers.
- Changes in the official operator’s weekly sports betting programme (taking away / closing matches), due to other reasons (pitch, illness etc.).
Under these conditions, where the likelihood of corruption or abnormality is high, the signatories shall undertake the following:
- for oddset games, immediately stop the validation of bets placed on the match in question;
- for pool games, each official operator will take necessary actions according to its specific national gaming rules.
3.2 Fighting against money laundering
Sports betting payout rates (mainly for oddset games) are generally higher than in other games. There is also a relatively high chance of winning, given the few possible outcomes of sports events. Without proper controls official operator’s products are likely to be used in money laundering transactions. And certain types of sports betting are more prone to it. Therefore, in sports betting it is more necessary to implement mechanisms to effectively counter this undesired potential outcome.
3.2.1 Anti-money laundering legislation:
Members shall assess the opportunities for financial misconduct arising from sports betting. Members shall seek relevant advice and implement appropriate steps to minimise the risks identified, such as :
- provide best efforts to encourage adoption of laws fighting against money-laundering in their local jurisdiction and to comply with all aspects of the local jurisdiction;
- monitor unusual amounts of stakes (for example per retailer, per combination, or per betting slip);
- large amounts of prize money shall not be paid out in cash but through alternative means such as cheques or bank transfers.
3.2.2 Monitoring events:
Corrupted events (by sport players or referees) considerably increase the risk of money laundering.
This matter was covered in 3.1.
An agreement must consequently be promoted between the main sports federations (following the example of the agreement entered into between EL and UEFA as well as WLA and FIFA) in order to limit this type of corruption (for example, through the implementation of a Code of Conduct, which prohibits players, referees, managers or agents from betting on their own club, or on championships in which their club participates).
3.2.3 Monitoring odds (for oddset games):
in order to limit the risk of money laundering, the signatories undertake to propose responsible odds for their oddset games.
IV – PROMOTING RESPONSIBLE GAMING: see European Lotteries responsible gaming standards
4.1 Prohibiting gaming by minors.
4.2 Prohibiting credit gaming.
4.3 Providing information to players.
4.4 Limiting stakes.
V – PROMOTING SPORTING VALUES
5.1 Sport funding and promotion
As a matter of fact and consequence of the Government policy, all signatories of the Code of Conduct contribute directly or indirectly to the funding of mass sporting activities (and not just spectator sports) in their respective countries.
As their sports betting activity also provides money for public welfare, they either give a defined percentage of their turnover directly to sports or make money for the public budget that could possibly be used for sports funding as well.
5.2 Undertaking to promote sport
Beyond its legal obligations, each official operator uses its best efforts to support sports through various mechanisms (company foundations, sponsorship, advertising).
5.3 Developing sporting ethics
The signatories will study the ethical assessment of sports organisations in liaison and in association with the sporting movement. Therefore the signatories promise to support all sports organisations in their effort to create sporting ethics or even a scoring scale for clubs / teams / persons concerning their public behaviour on the targets to strengthen sporting ethics. The aim could be to determine a scoring scale for sports organisations beyond sports and finance considerations.
Two principles govern this approach:
- As sports betting operators, it is necessary to select the events to be offered to players with a maximum of objective criteria in order to correctly perform our role as responsible operators (for example, refraining from offering bets on a third division football championship in a country reputed for cases of corruption). It is consequently appropriate to select only meetings with a genuine sporting purpose (see 3.2.1).
- For the majority of sports, sporting criteria are currently the only factors included in rankings. For example, in cycling, where the sporting system is somewhat flawed due to the predominance of doping, it may be appropriate to firstly deal with image-related issues. In football, violence and racism only exceptionally lead to sporting sanctions. Image issues may therefore be given more emphasis in the rankings.
Given these conditions, the EL sports betting members signing the Code of Conduct undertake to consider a system of rating sports organisations (mainly clubs), which takes into account various factors (following the example of sustainable development over recent years): financial transparency; compliance with rules; training young people; campaigning against doping; attitude towards institutions and the media; A methodology will be proposed by the signatories to the Ethics Committee, encompassing the following matters (if the proposals will generate costs, each signatory shall be free to decide whether to take part or not):
- understanding the functioning of companies specialising in company ratings;
- adapting their rating system to the sporting movement;
- determining a series of questions which could be put to sports bodies;
- testing these points in practice (for example with UEFA).
5.4 Distributing the Code to sporting partners
The signatories undertake to promote the values and rules of this Code to their partners (particularly sportspersons). The bodies and sporting events to which they may contribute financially should also comply with these values and rules.