2011 Betting Campaign Aims at Education of 8500 Athletes

European gambling trade associations join educational efforts

According to the latest reports, a number of European gambling trade associations decided to join together and link their betting education programs under a single code of conduct. This will lead to a joint, unified approach to educating athletes on appropriate behavior in regards to sports and betting.

The campaign initiated last year by the RGA and EGBA, the European Sports Security Association (ESSA) along with their partners in the European player associations, EU Athletes and the PPF, has a goal to educate 8500 athletes from six European sporting nations, four of the largest EU Member States (UK, Germany, France and Spain) and it will address seven sports.

It was specified by one of the leaders of the player education programme for the EGBA and ESSA, Walter Palmer, who also serves as the General Secretary of EU Athletes: "The code of conduct on sports betting is designed to help European sports professionals get a grip on, and deal with, issues surrounding the integrity of sport and betting both on- and offline. The decision to adopt a common code across the two programmes can only help strengthen our message."

On the other side, the action was also commented by Simon Taylor, General Secretary of the UK Professional Players Federation (PPF), who also developed and manages the player betting education program funded by the RGA and three of its members (bet365, Betfair and Ladbrokes). Namely, he assessed that the agreement on a single code represents a "natural progression" which will "facilitate the exchange of best practice benefiting professional sportspeople, the integrity of sport and betting operators. This is essential in the fight against the small number of people that seek to try and corrupt sporting events."

In addition EGBA Secretary General Sigrid Ligné stated: "Keeping sports clean is of the highest priority for European licensed betting operators. Sportsmen play a vital role in keeping sport clean, as they are the first line of defence in integrity. That's why we support this partnership with EU Athletes, because as player's representatives they are best placed to educate their fellow sportsmen.'

Also, Clive Hawkswood, Chief Executive of the RGA, commented: "European sport is essentially clean and we want it to remain so. Along with the sophisticated internal integrity mechanisms employed by licensed betting operators, we are committed to working with organisations like the PPF to detect and deter any corruption. The player betting education programme run by the PPF is an important part of that process."

It was also specified that the main points learned at the programs are:

• There is a real information problem on the ground

• Some sports federations have no rules on sports betting, or fail to communicate them to athletes

• Players' associations are well placed to provide guidance to sportspeople

• Direct, locker-room level contact with athletes is of crucial importance

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