Even if, legally, a sportsman or a coach is to the sports betting operator a regular client, we should take this opportunity to convey a strong message to the people in sports about the times they are being caught in the agencies
Frequently enough, there are photos and news in the media relating to the participation of sportsmen in the gambling process, especially footballers. The most recent situation of this sort uncovered is that of the footballers of Gloria Buzău who were caught in a betting agency playing rakishly on slot machines or writing betting tickets. This is a topic generating reputational damage to both parties, the betting industry and the people in question alike.
|From a legal perspective, things are clear: the current legislation provides as restrictive measures only the prohibition of the presence of minors in the locations specializing in the exploitation of gambling. In terms of professional membership it is clear that no restrictions may be imposed on the relevant operator. Thus, a sportsman is to the betting operator a regular customer and the betting restrictions may only be applied by the sports bodies, with consequences regarding the sports activity.|
However, the reputation of the operators in question is often put to the test given the media describes them as brokers for altering the integrity of the competitions and sometimes even accomplices of the sportsmen or coaches who chose to bet on the events in which they are directly involved.
In this context, the organization representing the betting sector in Romania, Romanian Bookmakers, makes the following clarifications relevant to the operators and the sports environment alike:
The sports betting sector is, and should remain besides the vectors intent on ensuring the integrity of the sports phenomenon and fight any expressions that alter the climate of full competition, there is no doubt about it. And this is not just a slogan insofar as any evasion of a sports event in order to derive benefits from the bets translates, as a purpose for manipulating a sports event, into losses, often substantial, for the operator. Therefore, we, the people of this industry, are determined and utterly motivated to stop these practices, even if the concrete tools to do so are the attribute of the sports bodies or the criminal prosecution bodies. But we will continue to be active and useful partners for them in the exchange of information.
Even if a betting company cannot be prosecuted under the law for the presence of a sportsman or a coach in an agency, the ethical perspective of this matter remains. This being the case, Romanian Bookmakers – The Patronage of Betting Organizers in Romania may only have one firm message:
Sportsmen should remain on the field or the gambling room should not let us catch them as customers of the betting agencies ever again! Not even if they claim not to bet on the events of the competition in which they are involved. The mere undertaking of the punter standing and the suspicions thus generated shall continue to be detrimental to their reputation. To this end, the people in sports should be aware that the activity in a betting agency or a gambling room is, according to the legal obligations, permanently and mandatorily, video monitored, which is why even if they are not identified immediately by the media, the sportsmen with a propensity for gambling are taking permanent risks by entering a betting agency.
As a signatory of the collaboration protocol with the Romanian Football Federation (FRF) on ensuring the integrity of the football phenomenon, Romanian Bookmakers shall continue to fight and act against the manipulation of sports events. Under this protocol Romanian Bookmakers declares that many relevant briefings were provided to the football body, some extremely useful, during our 6 years of collaboration, as part of the sports investigations conducted by the RFF.
On this vein, the fight against the manipulation of sports events and the collaboration with all the relevant vectors in this industry shall remain one of the Romanian Bookmakers’ top priorities.
Romanian Bookmakers and the integrity of the sports phenomenon:
- Holder of the protocol signed in 2012 with the Romanian Football Federation (FRF) for mutual briefing on the occurrences of potential manipulation of sports events
- Partner in the “Don’t Fix It!” project developed by FIFPro, the international footballer union, a project in which Romania was represented by FRF, AFAN (the national footballer union) and Romanian Bookmakers
- Partner of FRF and AFAN in the “Fotbal curat” (Clean Football) campaign of briefing junior footballers of the risks of becoming involved in the manipulation of the results of sports events
- Participant to the Integrity in Sport Multi-Stakeholder Workshop, an event organized in March 2018 by Interpol and the International Olympic Committee in Bucharest. At that point, Romanian Bookmakers became a member of the interdisciplinary information exchange circle established by Interpol at European level.