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Reporting suspicious bets

We work with the betting industry, sports governing bodies and the police to prevent match-fixing and protect sports betting integrity. Reporting of suspicion of offences is key to protecting British sports betting and sports from risks to betting integrity issues and from match-fixing. 

If you are a licensed betting operator you must provide relevant sports governing bodies with information you suspect may:

  • lead us to consider making an order to void a bet
  • relate to a breach of a rule applied by that sport governing body. 

The information you provide must be sufficient for them to conduct an effective investigation.

For a list of the relevant sports governing bodies see Part 3 of Schedule 6 of the Gambling Act 2005. Contact details for most sports governing bodies can be found in our useful links section

Licence conditions and codes of practice also contains an ordinary code provision which requires you to take all reasonable steps to familiarise yourself with the rules applied by relevant sports governing bodies (LCCP: Ordinary code 4.2.8).

Guidance on Licence conditions and codes of practice (LCCP) 15.1 LCCP

15.1.2 (1) sets out the obligations of operators that hold a licence issued by the Gambling Commission to notify the Commission’s Sports Betting Intelligence Unit (SBIU) about information that may relate to offences under the Gambling Act or lead the Commission to consider voiding a bet. 

LCCP 15.1.2 (2), below, sets out that operators must inform the relevant Sport Governing Body (SGB) of any suspected breaches of a sports betting rules, or breaches that may lead the Commission to consider voiding a bet.     

LCCP15.1.2

15.1.2 paragraph 1 and 15.1.2 paragraph 2 of this licence condition are not dependent on each other. So operators do not have to identify potential offences under the act before they are obliged to report breaches of sports betting rules to a sport governing body.

Data protection

Where personal data is shared, organisations will want to establish what legal bases allow them to share information.

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) provides for a number of lawful bases which allow personal data to be disclosed to ensure that public policy objectives are met. These include:

  • the processing is necessary for compliance with a legal obligation to which the controller is subject (and, of course, LCCP 15.1.2 creates a legal obligation binding on the relevant Commission licensees)
  • the processing is necessary for the performance of a contract to which the data subject is party or in order to take steps at the request of the data subject prior to entering into a contract
  • the processing is necessary for the performance of a task carried out in the public interest
  • the processing is necessary for the purposes of the legitimate interests pursued by the controller or by a third party (except where such interests are overridden by the interests or fundamental rights and freedoms of the data subject which require protection of personal data).

We take the view that GDPR is not intended to prevent operators from taking steps which are necessary in the public interest, or are necessary to comply with regulatory requirements under a gambling licence.

See Gambling regulation and the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) for more information. 

Operators are legally obliged to provide the data covered by LCCP 15.1.2(2) to relevant SGBs.

The situation is not the same as where an operator contracts with a processor to handle data for it, and so it is not anticipated that operators will obtain contractual assurances from SGBs.

Operators should note that SGBs are obliged to comply with applicable data protection legislation relevant to their jurisdiction, including GDPR, and the Commission expects SGBs to be compliant. Any request for information must comply with legislation, as must any response to a request.

Where queries do arise, the Gambling Commission expects that both the relevant SGB and the operator will engage in good faith discussions in the spirit of cooperation and mutual interest that maintaining integrity in sports and betting requires.

If following this process, an operator nevertheless has specific concerns that an SGB is not compliant with data protection legislation, such concerns must be reported to the Information Commissioner’s Office, and we would recommend that the Gambling Commission is also informed.

If in doubt consult your legal team or Data Protection Officer. 

What you need to report and to who

Operators who provide facilities for sports betting must report suspected breaches of a sport’s betting rules to the relevant SGB (providing data protection legislation has been applied and that the SGB is one listed in Schedule 6).

For the time being paragraph 2 of LCCP 15.1.2 only applies to those SGBs listed in Schedule 6 of the Gambling Act. However, if an operator identifies a breach of a sport’s betting rules which may also be an offence under the Act they must still report this to the SBIU as required under paragraph 1 of LCCP 15.1.2 even where that sport’s governing body is not listed in Schedule 6. 

SGBs should identify single points of contact to manage reports of risks to betting integrity. Contacts for some sports can be found on the Sports Betting Group website.

If the relevant contact is not listed the Sports Recreation Alliance or the SBIU may be able to provide details. 

Sports betting rules and/or codes

Ordinary code provision 4.2.8 sets out that if operators accept bets on the outcome of a sport regulated by an SGB listed in Schedule 6 “they should take all reasonable steps to familiarise themselves with the rules applied by that body on betting, in particular betting by registered participants”.

Most SGBs have published details of their rules on their websites. If you have difficulty finding details of SGB rules you can contact the relevant single point of contact, as outlined above, for advice. 

Providing sufficient information 

This is a matter for the operator and SGB to discuss and agree. It is expected that both the relevant sport governing body and the operator will engage in good faith discussions to maintain integrity in sports and betting. 

Each case should be determined on the factors present, such as:

  • level of burden of proof, most instances are to a civil standard on the balance of probabilities
  • proportionality and necessity of the disclosure of this information
  • relates to participants covered by the SGB rules or the sport has provided sufficient grounds under GDPR to disclose material for person(s) not subject of SGB rules.

In exceptional circumstances, where discussions have taken place but an agreement cannot be reached, the Commission could be engaged to consider the above points and assess if the operator is compliant with their licence conditions.