New sports integrity body launched in Brazil ahead of betting regulation

Sports technology company Genius Sports, online gaming giant Entain, and fantasy sports operator Rei Do Pitaco, along with law firms Bichara e Motta and Maia Yoshiyasu Advogados (FYMSA), announced Wednesday the formation of the “Associação Brasileira de Defesa da Integridade do Esporte” (ABRADIE), a non-profit organization that will address issues threatening the integrity of Brazilian sports as the country moves to regulate betting on sporting events.

Bringing together leading representatives from the betting industry, law enforcement, players, sports governing bodies, teams, and the legal profession, the association’s principal goal is to protect consumers, sports leagues, and other stakeholders from possible fraud caused by the unfair manipulation of events on which betting is offered, including match-fixing and spot-fixing.

Chris Dougan, Chief Communications Officer at Genius Sports and founding member of ABRADIE, said: “We are excited to launch Brazil’s first Sports Integrity Association to champion a safe and secure betting environment for consumers across the country. We look forward to working with regulators, members of law enforcement, operators, sports leagues, and other key stakeholders to prevent fraud and protect the integrity of sports.”

Chris Dougan

The Association is a not-for-profit organization designed as a collaborative entity to partner with the regulator, federal and state law enforcement, and other stakeholders to detect and discourage fraud and other illegal or unethical activity related to betting on sporting events, which is set to be regulated this year.

The group of experts will conduct consultations and events in order to discuss a range of issues, including whether there is more that can be done to improve communication and collaboration between sports, betting operators, police, and the regulator. The establishment of the new body follows a number of recent match-fixing scandals in the country, which have led to a national conversation regarding its betting laws.

These consultations will be designed to assess the current integrity measures that are in place regarding sports betting with a view to ensuring they are as robust as possible, as well as the education of players, match officials, and anyone associated with sports. The key focus will be on how suspicious betting patterns are identified and evaluated across Brazilian sports.

Martin Lycka, Senior Vice President of American Regulatory Affairs and Responsible Gambling at Entain, stated: “As part of Entain’s ongoing commitment to only operate in well-regulated and governed markets, I’m pleased to see that the industry is coming together to support the integrity of Brazilian sports and prevent match-fixing. This is one of the key underlying factors of any betting regulation.”

Rafael Marchetti Marcondes, Chief Legal Officer of Rei do Pitaco, reinforced the importance of ABRADIE’s launching, noting the company supports initiatives that advocate for sports integrity, encourage responsible gaming practices and foster sustainable growth of the sports betting market.

“Cases that could jeopardize the reputation of the sport, like match or spot-fixing or the participation of minors as bettors, must be monitored and punished, as all stakeholders in the betting market lose out to fraudulent and criminal attitudes. Cooperation among all involved entities, public or private, is mandatory to combat activities that harm the sport and its development,” the executive stated.

Rafael Marchetti Marcondes

In addition, the Association will discuss the importance of introducing robust responsible gaming practices across the industry to better protect consumers. The experts will work on delivering an action plan that can be presented to the government for their consideration, the parties said.

The newly formed body is expected to deliver a report “with a clear set of recommendations to help uphold integrity in sports and associated betting,” which will be presented to the government to consider the committee’s recommendations.

This week, Brazil’s government announced it will require sports betting firms to be headquartered in the country in order to operate there, in addition to creating oversight mechanisms to curb fraud and manipulation of match results. 

Finance Minister Fernando Haddad

A law passed in 2018 allowed betting companies to operate in the country, and they have surged in popularity since then. However, the government says loose regulation has allowed the business to grow untaxed and lawless. The new plans, which include taxing the firms, are part of an effort announced by Finance Minister Fernando Haddad last week to boost fiscal revenue.

Two ministry sources said the measure could bolster public accounts by some 2 billion reais to 8 billion reais ($385 million to $1.54 billion) annually, though the calculations have not yet been finalized. It has not yet been announced how businesses would be taxed or what the rates might be. Haddad previously said the government could start regulating online games this same month.