Monitoring of sports betting at Tokyo 2020

29 Jun 2021

Numerous awareness-raising measures of how to prevent competition manipulation have been put in place and pushed to Olympic delegations before they leave for Tokyo. But how will the Olympic events be monitored during Games time? How can intelligence be gathered about irregular betting patterns that may hint at potential competition manipulation? And should some sports be more closely observed than others? Here is a quick overview of what will be in place.

Prior to the postponement of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, the Olympic Movement Unit on the Prevention of the Manipulation of Competitions (OM Unit PMC) had conducted a thorough assessment of the 33 sports on the Tokyo 2020 programme in relation to the risks of potential competition manipulation linked to sports betting. The findings were shared with the International Federations. Since the postponement, the OM Unit PMC has conducted updates on this initial assessment. The aim was to look into the evolution of the sports betting industry, the impact caused by the global pandemic, and the related risks of potential competition manipulation in a specific sport.

Here are some observations. During the early phase of the global pandemic in 2020, most sports competitions across all Olympic sports, including international competitions, domestic leagues, etc. were either suspended or cancelled because of the health restrictions due to the pandemic. Only a few sports competitions were held in some countries during that period. However, those few sports competitions attracted more attention than ever in terms of sports betting coverage, due to the lack of other ongoing sports events. This phenomenon could be seen until some major sports events resumed in the third quarter of 2020.    

And what is in place for the Olympic Games? Sports betting on all Olympic competitions has been monitored since the Olympic Games Beijing 2008, and Tokyo 2020 will be no exception. The OM Unit PMC, via its platform IBIS and with its partners – namely Sportradar, the International Betting Integrity Association (IBIA), the Global Lottery Monitoring System (GLMS) and major regulating authorities around the world – will monitor sports betting on all Olympic competitions at this summer’s Olympic Games. The 24/7 monitoring will be carried out remotely at the Olympic House in Lausanne (Switzerland). The OM Unit PMC will retain a direct link to all IFs in order to flag any breach of the Olympic Movement Code on the Prevention of the Manipulation of Competitions (OM Code PMC). It is equipped to carry out a preliminary investigation and assist with the set-up of a Disciplinary Commission if necessary. In addition, the IOC will cooperate closely with various law enforcement authorities to address any cases where collective and joint follow-up is appropriate and necessary.

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