MLB Partners With SportIM For Bet Data Integrity Monitoring
Sport Integrity Monitor (SportIM) in the UK and Major League Baseball formed a new data monitoring partnership that is flying under the sports betting world radar but is truly a high-impact announcement that the Sports Techie community blog readers and followers should pay attention to because of the possible repercussions on the wagering on MLB games and events. I chatted with Chris Dougan, MD US Operations, SportIM, about this sports technology driven story in luau of the recent news out of New York about the cease and desist order by the state attorney general telling daily fantasy sports operators such as FanDuel and DraftKings that their business is indeed a form of gambling and thus is illegal as it stands today. MLB now has a bet monitoring services in place, be forewarned fans and gamblers, sportsbook’s, players and managers, sports betting has a new web based data sheriff in town named SportIM.
SportIM boasts the largest and most qualified international sports integrity company in the space. They are based in London, England with several satellites offices including Dougan’s office in Washington D.C. where he supports MLB, their first client in North America. SportIM have other significant partnerships in place with The English Premier League, Football Association and EuroLeague Basketball that rely on their data analytics system that can analyze markets across lines over international betting markets.
SportIM has a seasoned tech development team in the UK and 180 total employees including a 24-hour monitoring system in Estonia with 24-7 operation. They currently monitor over 110,000 events per year across 20 different sports. The company offers consultancy, risk assessments, education workshops and betting market monitoring that allows sports bodies to understand and manage any betting integrity concerns.
Mark Locke, CEO at SportIM, “We are proud to be able to begin the expansion of our business in North America and look forward to a long relationship with MLB, It is reassuring to know that forward thinking organisations such as MLB are actively taking steps on how to best safeguard their competitions and implement effective measures in this environment to prevent any issues
SportIM software features have an unmatched global view of regulated and unregulated wagering markets across international territories. Everyday, their sports tech wares monitors millions of live and pre-match odds across multiple sports with proprietary and customized software coded for each individual sport and events.
Their sports tech system can flag betting lines and identify wagers out of the norm. “SportIM acts as a type of forensic team and Big-Data guards,” claims Dougan. Their technology makes it less easy for perpetrators to operate successfully because of the real-time nature of their flagging technology that identifies match fixing, spot fixing and now professional baseball fixing.
Take for example a Manchester United versus Arsenal EPL match where Wayne Rooney scores seven goals however the historical data indicates that he had never even scored or provided a single assist against the Gunners before. SportIM can flag that discrepancy and alert the powers that be about the issue at hand.
In the case of baseball where a 1-0 or 10-9 score can have hundreds if not thousands of different plays and outcomes over a nine inning game that can each be manipulated, such as a pitcher walking a batter that is known as a free swinger or a gold glove caliber shortstop booting three errors in one inning, you can understand why the concern.
SportIM has been hired to monitor the massive amounts of sports and wagering related data and statistics for MLB in order to report trends and possible illegal activity in real time, according to Dougan.
The new integrity partnership is an extension of MLB’s tough anti-corruption policy and its wide-ranging initiatives already in place. These proactive steps help to ensure that fans are always treated to a fair and transparent game, players have the utmost belief in having a winning mind-set, and league representatives are equipped with information and tools to maintain a clean, honest and exhilarating sport.
Dan Halem, Chief Legal Officer of MLB, said: “Major League Baseball is pleased to work with Sport Integrity Monitor in this vital area, as this partnership will be an essential part of our initiatives to protect the game’s integrity. We look forward to making use of SportIM’s expertise and market-leading monitoring solutions in order to ensure that we have accurate and timely intelligence.”
The new expanded monitoring program by MLB was implemented, “To keep MLB ahead of the curve, looking forward,” said Dougan. MLB wants to be on the forefront of security, wagering and innovation especially as the game expands across the globe and becomes ever move digital for fans in the United States and worldwide because of the efforts by MLB Advanced Media (MLBAM) and key partners to deliver live action, breaking news and deep dive analytics to each online fan in a more personalized fashion.
Dougan said the potential of match fixing on the scale of Japan can happen so MLB and other federations, leagues and governing bodies need to prepare for the worst with proactive measures in order to deal with it.
Whether we are talking about, “a game of chance, a game of skill or a game of thrones” added Dougan who hails from England but attended college at the University of Cal-Berkeley, “big-data integrity empowers them to make the call and have an early warning system.”
Sports Techie, Bravo to MLB for thinking and acting ahead so they don’t go down the road of FIFA match fixing, Russian Track & Field NGB doping and other corrupt sports integrity situations. As it stands right now, Pete Rose is still banned from baseball and the Hall of Fame because he bet on baseball as manager of the Cincinnati Reds. Commissioner Rob Manfred now has to weigh the nationwide momentum the idea of legalized gambling and fantasy sports are gaining in all states as fans in other countries enjoy the right to do in regards to placing legal bets on baseball, football, soccer and other sports.
No question, should sports betting become legal outside the state of Nevada and the city of Las Vegas in New Jersey and elsewhere, the federal government and states could tax the industry and help pay for public programs in dire need of funding, much like marijuana is doing in five states including Washington, Oregon and Colorado.
The role organized crime plays in betting is clearly a red flag that Manfred and the owners need to carefully consider but the advancement of technologies such as those by SportIM can help monitor bet data and flag problems in real-time ensuring a more even playing field in the future than is in place right now by MLB and NBA, the NFL, NHL and MMA.
In terms of daily fantasy sports, SportIM is not dealing with DFS at all, it is a different data process. But Dougan says there is value working with the data.
The plan by MLB is develop a road map, fact check, receive training and support on the current education system, then deploy SportIM next season complete with a team-by-team overview covering all points and queries. In in the meantime, the new partners will continue with preparations while running models so they can be set for the start of the 2016 season.
As Chicago Cubs legend Ernie Banks said, “Let’s play two,” and be certain the integrity of baseball stays intact one play and bet at a time.
See y’all later in Seattle, Atlanta and around the world.
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