The International Betting Integrity Association (IBIA) has joined forces with arbitration bodies the Independent Betting Adjudication Service (IBAS) and eCOGRA to establish measures to inform and advance the customer betting dispute resolution decision-making process. The approach relates to circumstances where customer winnings are not paid for the period where a sporting event is under investigation.

Previously, when frustrated consumers have approached arbitration bodies they have had to request updates from operators on each customer claim on a piecemeal basis throughout the year. This has involved considerable administrative time and effort on behalf of arbitration bodies and operators, with some cases taking over two years to be completed as sports bodies undertaken investigations into potential corruption. Under the agreement, IBIA will seek updates on all outstanding cases of suspicious betting it has reported to sports twice a year. Arbitration bodies will then contact operators using the same timeline.

Khalid Ali, CEO of the International Betting Integrity Association, explained: “The approach is aimed at improving information sharing on the status of suspended accounts linked to potential match-fixing. Sports have been supportive, which is vital as the process relies on feedback on their investigations. IBIA members want to do all they can to stop corrupters from benefiting financially and will continue to suspend accounts where appropriate. However, it is recognised that not all suspicious betting is corrupt and that innocent consumers should not be penalised.”

Richard Hayler, Managing Director of the Independent Betting Adjudication Service, said: “We welcome this considered and proportionate response to a problem that IBAS had raised with the IBIA. We are optimistic that the system will alleviate some of the difficulties previously caused where customer accounts and balances have been suspended – or bets left unsettled – for indeterminate periods, during which ADR providers could offer no practical advice or information to claimants. The solution developed by the IBIA will expedite this process. It will reassure our adjudicators that important investigations remain active and encourage operators and those investigating to review whether every bet on a suspicious event needs to be treated the same way. It showcases both the benefits of ADR providing feedback to the industry and the ability of collaborative work to deliver practical service improvements.”

“Tex Rees, Director of eCOGRA said: “These initiatives have been much needed and provide clarity and consistency for consumers and operators alike. We appreciate the collaborative and inclusive approach the IBIA has taken, which demonstrates what can be achieved when the industry works together to provide practical solutions and raise standards.”

The process has been agreed by IBIA and its members, which make-up many of the largest operators in the world, and IBAS and eCOGRA, which represent two of the leading customer dispute resolution bodies covering the UK and wider regulated markets. The approach kicked in from the start of 2020 and will be monitored to see if it can be implemented in other markets. Any parties interested in joining this approach are encouraged to contact IBIA at [email protected]