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A Day in the Life Of - Nick Oliver Sports Betting Intelligence Unit (SBIU) Specialist

Nick joined the Commission in 2008 as an Intelligence Officer. Before that, he spent 22 years in the RAF specialising in covert policing techniques and intelligence.

The Commission’s Sports Betting Intelligence Unit (SBIU) was established in 2009 and Nick played a key role in the world-renowned unit’s establishment. The SBIU works closely with the betting industry and with sports governing bodies to keep crime out of gambling and help protect the integrity of sport and betting. They successfully collect information and develop intelligence about potentially corrupt betting activity involving sport and receive information from a variety of sources.

What does a typical day look like for you and the SBIU team?

The wonderful thing about my role is that there is never a ‘typical’ day. There is always lots of problem solving and detailed work behind the scenes to build a better case to support our partners in their investigations. We work as a team and work very closely on a daily basis with numerous gambling operators, engaging with national and occasionally international sports governing bodies, law enforcement agencies and other regulators. 

Match fixing is like finding an old jigsaw puzzle, it’s unlikely that you’ll find all of the pieces intact, but using the pieces you do have, over time you will be able to develop a good picture of what happened. These types of partnerships we have are vital to keeping gambling safe for consumers and to identify those breaking the law. They have been hugely successful for us.

What work are you most proud of in your time at the Commission?

There are many things that I am proud of during my time at the Commission.

I am particularly proud of how the SBIU and the team are internationally recognised as setting the standard to which other countries now model their practices on. It shows we do things the right way and make a global impact.

Our work and experience also contributed to the production of the Council of Europe Convention on the Manipulation of Sports Competitions (The Macolin Convention).

What are the biggest challenges the team faces in the future?

Perhaps the biggest challenge that the team face is understanding how global lockdown has affected our stakeholders from a betting integrity perspective. That is something we continue to focus on alongside the day-to-day work. We also have a challenge on how we host the annual Sports Betting Integrity Forum workshop.  The workshop is a great opportunity to meet people we normally only speak to on the phone or via email and helps us to build relationships. This workshop will not be possible this year due to current COVID19 restrictions so we are finding ways to do things differently using technology.

How are you planning to overcome your challenges?

It’s important that we carry on working to our highest standard and maintain our quality and momentum. We have an exceptional reputation and that must continue – while we must make sure that all betting integrity stakeholders are kept up to date with best practice, developments, and trends. We have a lead role.

What are the key next steps you will be taking in the coming months to make gambling safer?

I’ll be trying to keep as fit and alert as possible! Betting Integrity is a very busy and incredibly complex area of Commission business and match fixing impacts on all the licensing objectives, so I must be very focused. I think it’s important that in the coming months we all try and keep our momentum. A good swim always revitalises me!