The emerging legal US sports betting industry has formed a group aimed at protecting the integrity of sports that will work with both regulators and operators in Pennsylvania.
On Tuesday, the top sportsbook operators in the country got together to announce the formation of the Sports Wagering Integrity Monitoring Association (SWIMA). Firstly, this non-profit organization aims to detect and discourage illegal and unethical activity related to sports and sports betting.
Working with PA regulators
In its effort to prevent corruption, the organization says it will work with state and tribal gaming regulators. That list undoubtedly includes the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB).
State legislators have tasked the PGCB with regulating PA sports betting. Therefore, it will be the local regulators SWIMA will be dealing with in PA.
Additionally, the PGCB is the state government body that approved the first sports betting license in the state. The Sportsbook at Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course launched Nov. 17. The PGCB also designed the state’s sports betting regulations. The regulatory group has granted four other PA casinos conditional approval to launch sportsbooks. These are:
A sixth casino, Valley Forge Casino Resort, applied for a PA sports betting license in early November and is awaiting PGCB approval.
SWIMA also plans to partner with federal, state and tribal law enforcement organizations, and other various sports betting stakeholders.
Furthermore, SWIMA’s stated goal is to protect consumers, operators, and other legal US sports betting stakeholders from fraud caused by “the unfair manipulation of events on which betting is offered.”
According to a press release, the organization believes reaching this goal requires a multi-jurisdictional approach and widespread sharing of information.
Additionally, the organization’s stated core objectives include:
- Providing a safe and secure betting environment in the legal markets across the country, including PA
- Protecting the integrity of sports betting, detecting bad actors, and discouraging nefarious activities
One PA sportsbook operator on the board
At least one potential PA sports betting operator will play an integral role with SWIMA right from the word go.
Harrah’s Philadelphia is a Caesars Entertainment property. SWIMA named Caesars Entertainment Executive VP of Public Policy and Corporate Responsibility Jan Jones to its Board of Trustees.
SWIMA has also named MGM Resorts International Senior Vice President & Chief Compliance Officer Stephen Martino to its Board of Trustees.
The organization named George Rover its Chief Integrity Officer. The former New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement Deputy Director will run the organization on a day-to-day basis:
“We are excited to roll out the first Integrity Monitoring Association in the United States, ensuring a safe and secure betting environment for consumers across the country. We look forward to partnering with gaming regulators and law enforcement in all states that legalize sports betting to undermine fraud and manipulation and protect the integrity of sports betting.”
PA sportsbooks among initial members
Firstly, SWIMA’s initial members will include most major sports betting operators across the US. Of course, this will extend to the PA market. Additionally, the organization is promising to expand as sports betting spreads to new jurisdictions with new operators.
SWIMA’s Board of Delegates will include all representatives from all members. Sports betting operators will be the sole funding source of the organization.
American Gaming Association Senior Vice President of Public Affairs Sara Slane said SWIMA can only help states like PA realize the benefits of legal sports betting:
“The formation of (SWIMA) serves as another important milestone toward realizing the benefits of a legal, regulated sports betting market in the United States, which provides robust consumer protection, increased transparency and additional tax revenues for state and local governments. Today’s announcement comes at a critical time as dozens of states and sovereign tribal nations are poised to pursue legal sports betting in 2019. Moving forward, SWIMA will provide an important hub for all stakeholders to work together, further demonstrating the industry’s commitment to upholding integrity across all facets of a legal, regulated sports betting market.”