‘Days when organised crime operated with machine guns in hand, like Al Capone, are long gone’

Sport Integrity Global Alliance (SIGA) Global chief executive officer Emanuel Macedo de Medeiros remembers expressing his concern about betting operators across the global.

He pointed out that a large number of betting operators operated illegally.

“I remember having the opportunity, even before the pandemic, to express my concern, and I pointed out that 80 per cent of betting operators worldwide operate in black or grey areas, without regulation, without licensing, in a context of great opacity, without control, without supervision, and without scrutiny of financial flows,” said de Medeiros.

“And when a ‘cluster’ represents, as it did in 2019, between 3 to 5 trillion (US) dollars per year in sports betting money, we are talking about a lot of money and a global market.

“The days when organised crime operated with machine guns in hand, like Al Capone, are long gone. Nowadays, there are many and varied, more sophisticated ways for criminal entities to infiltrate legitimate sectors of society and the economy,” he said during a recent interview with Portuguese media outlet, A Bola.

In the interview, de Medeiros zoomed in on sports betting regulation in Brazil.

“In Brazil, there is recent legislation that addresses, as much as possible, many of SIGA’s concerns. However, 80 per cent of betting operators are not licensed in Brazil but in paradises like Curaçao.

“What is the scrutiny, what is the supervision? How can the system’s integrity be guaranteed? This is a challenge I pose to the authorities because there is a lot at stake.”

He added there was a lack of strategic vision and leadership from governments worldwide, which have the mandate to fulfil and must look after the public interest.

“This cannot be achieved with international summits and pompous proclamations, as I have witnessed many times, where government officials sit and read a speech written by some advisor and leave after taking the customary photo. We want results.

“Governments must prioritise safeguarding the integrity of sports because it is an economic and social sector that cannot be neglected. And this should start with the government structures, which must have a Sports Minister,” he added.

SIGA is the world’s leading organisation for sports integrity. Twentytwo13 is SIGA’s official media partner.

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