Tennis Integrity Unit Reports Lowest Alert Number Since 2015
Alerts for unusual betting on tennis matches for Q1 fell to the lowest level since 2015, according to the Tennis Integrity Unit (TIU).
Across all tennis betting for the first three months of 2019, only 21 alerts were produced. That’s down from 38 from the same timeframe the previous year, and from 77 that were seen in the final three months of 2018.
To note, alerts received by the TIU are not evidence of match fixing, and could be anything from unexpected fitness from a player to simply really good betting. None of the major events were affected, meaning all ATP Tour, Davis or Fed Cups, and Australian Open all came and went without incident.
Events that were affected: 8 from the ITF World Tennis Tour (WTT) men’s $15k, 5 from the ATP Challenger series, 4 from the ITF WTT Women’s $15k, 2 from the ITF WTT Men’s $25k, one from the ITF WTT Women’s $25k, and one from the WTA Tour.
Who is the TIU and How Do They Operate
It’s not likely that you’ve heard of the TIU. The TIU is the anti-corruption body for tennis across the board. They first started making the number of alerts per quarter available to the public in 2015. What isn’t made public is which matches are deemed to possibly have corrupt activity.
The TIU does not monitor betting on tennis itself. Rather, it relies on regulators within the gambling industry to register reports confidentially with the TIU. From there, the TIU looks into the situation and tries to determine if corrupt activity is the likelihood of the suspicious betting activity.
If there is a case that seems to imply illegal gambling action, then the TIU launches into a full investigation. These investigations take years to come to a close, especially if the suspicious party is guilty. In all five cases ruled upon so far in 2019, all action in question occurred in 2017 or earlier.
When the TIU finds someone guilty of illegal action, the punishment is usually very severe. A Swedish player was the most recent guilty party. For betting on tennis matches from April 2016-January 2017 (matches that he was not involved in), he was fined $6,000 and banned for 4 months.
Two other penalties handed out in 2019 include a pair of 3-month suspensions for similar incidents. A top-750 ranked player received a 2 and a half year ban for refusing to cooperate with an investigation. The fifth case resulted in a lifetime ban for active attempts at match-fixing.
TIU’s Uncovering of Match-Fixing Ring
The Tiu has been instrumental in helping to uncover a massive match-fixing ring recently. The TIU has been embroiled in the case for multiple years now, having described lower level tennis as “engulfed in a tsunami of corruption” last year.
The New York Times offered one of the latest US updates on the situation, reporting that 28 new Spanish players were now connected to the ring that was busted last October. French magazine L'Equipe reported that seven new French players were in custody in late March. (An English report appeared in the Malta Independent)
Law enforcement agencies across the world are involved with uncovering everyone involved, including the FBI and Europol. The ring was based out of Belgium, and headed by an Armenian-Belgian crime syndicate based out of Belgium.
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