Sports betting has brought about a number of developments and had numerous consequences, including a tremendous increase in the number of sports betting operators and in sports betting revenue, together with huge changes in the range of sports betting offered, in particular with the emergence of new types of betting (fixed odds betting now represents 90% of the market).

The IOC first recognised the importance of sports betting at the Olympic Games in Athens 2004, in connection with the risks linked to these activities. Since then, the IOC has been very much involved in combating competition manipulation. Ahead of the 2006 Olympic Winter Games in Turin, specific rules for the protection of the event were set up, including the prohibition for participants to bet on or promote sports betting during the Games. Since then, dedicated rules have been approved for each edition of the Olympic Games and Youth Olympic Games. In December 2015, the IOC adopted the Olympic Movement Code on the Prevention of the Manipulation of Competitions, as part of the IOC Code of Ethics and also referenced in the Olympic Charter. The Olympic Movement Code on the Prevention of the Manipulation of Competitions mirrors and implements – from the sports side - the Council of Europe Convention on the Manipulation of Sports Competitions, the international legal instrument that seeks to address the phenomenon internationally.

To step up its efforts in this field, the IOC created the Integrity Betting Intelligence System (IBIS) in January 2014, which operates on a continuous basis during and outside the period of the Olympic Games. Using a secure, protected and confidential IT platform, IBIS enables communication between the Olympic Movement stakeholders and the various entities involved in sports betting about any irregularities detected. Today, IBIS cooperates with numerous sports betting entities: private and governmental sports betting operators, the largest associations of sports betting operators (the Global Lottery Monitoring System (GLMS) and the International Betting Integrity Association (IBIA)), numerous regulatory authorities and various other entities in the sports betting industry.

Generally, sports betting is not a problem. A well-regulated and controlled sports betting market further engages sport fans and channels interest and enthusiasm towards sport. Additionally, there are numerous sports betting operators that are traditional financial supporters of sport on all levels, as well as key social causes. However, it is also true that numerous risks arise from the strong involvement of sports betting within the contemporary sports sector and sponsorship relations. These risks, including the possibility of competition manipulation, need to be thoroughly taken into account and mitigated by sports organisations. For example, there are clear reputational and credibility risks if an incident of competition manipulation calls into question the overall nature of fair and clean sport. At the same time, the sports betting industry recognises that such incidents also jeopardise the credibility of their markets, and consequently it is of crucial importance for them to contribute to the efforts undertaken against the phenomenon.

What is competition manipulation in sport?

Competition manipulation is an intentional arrangement aimed at improperly changing the result or the course of a sports competition, to remove all or part of the unpredictable nature of the sports competition with a view to obtaining an undue benefit for oneself or others. 

Competition manipulation occurs when a participant(s) in a Baseball/Softball competition (an athlete, athlete support personnel, official, referee, judge, etc.) cheats to remove the unpredictability of a competition. The participant knowingly underperforms or deliberately makes wrongful decisions affecting the result or course of a competition, which is entirely against the Olympic spirit. The reason behind such an action would be either to gain a sporting advantage (e.g. facing an easier opponent in the 2nd round of a tournament) or to gain a financial benefit, notably linked to sports betting.