The International Betting Integrity Association (IBIA) will work with its member operators to establish and fund a new education program for Canadian athletes. The announcement was initially made at the Symposium on Competition Manipulation and Gambling in Sport event in Toronto.
With representatives of notable North American sports leagues, such as the CFL, CPL, Hockey Canada, NFL, NBA and NHL in attendance, the IBIA unveiled the new program. Regulators such as the AGCO and Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission also had representatives in attendance.
It announced that the new initiative will be funded by its member operators bet365, Betway and FanDuel, which will invest at least $220,000 (converted to USD) over three years. The funding partners are currently discussing a delivery body and are planning to come up with a decision in the coming weeks.
The program will seek to shield athletes from sports betting fraud and match-fixing. It will include face-to-face athlete training, as well as a digital portal for learning. In addition, athletes will be able to benefit from awareness-raising material and use an anonymous reporting app to share their experiences.
Representatives from the involved parties commented on the new project. Jean-Francois Reymond, a former basketball pro and education ambassador at the IBIA, was the one to announce the project. He explained that in order to protect the integrity of sports, one has to also protect the integrity of athletes.
Most often through a lack of awareness, it is the athletes who are risking their careers and livelihoods. Our objective is to build a best-in-class program for all athletes that serves to protect the integrity of Canadian sports and the careers of Canada’s athletes.
Jean-Francois Reymond, education ambassador, IBIA IBIA’s chief executive officer, Khalid Ali, also commented on the matter. He said that the association is happy to see that its members are interested in promoting sports betting education and are willing to invest in the initiative. Ali noted that the IBIA truly cares about sports integrity and investing in the well-being of the athletes that make sports possible.
Betway’s chief executive, Anthony Werkman, also shared his thoughts, affirming the importance of sports integrity. He said that his brand is committed to combating corruption in sports betting, both globally and locally. Werkman concluded that Betway is excited to work together with other IBIA members on the new project.
Finally, Dale Hooper, GM of FanDuel Canada, said Ontario is a fairly young market and therefore one in need of additional protections and educational programs. His team is looking forward to helping to increase the understanding of betting and the protection of athletes and bettors in the region.