Two giants of the gaming industry, MGM Resorts International and Caesars Entertainment, have teamed up to create the non-profit Sports Wagering Integrity Monitoring Association (SWIMA), which is just as it sounds: a watchdog organization with the aim of maintaining the integrity of the growing U.S. sports betting industry.
According to a press release, SWIMA is “designed as a collaborative entity to partner with state and tribal gaming regulators; federal, state and tribal law enforcement; and other various stakeholders to detect and discourage fraud and other illegal or unethical activity related to betting on sporting events.”
The main goal of the organization is to root out any betting shenanigans, or, more formally, “to protect consumers, operators and other stakeholders from potential fraud caused by the unfair manipulation of events on which betting is offered.”
It is assumed that many more operators and regulators will join SWIMA, especially since the association says that it needs collaboration with operators all over the country as well as regulatory bodies and law enforcement.
Some of the names of leadership are known at this point. SWIMA’s Chief Integrity Officer, the man in charge of day-to-day operations, will be George Rover, former New Jersey Assistant Attorney General and Deputy Director of the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement.
“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,” Rover said in a press release. “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.”
Seeing as SWIMA was formed by MGM and Caesars, it is only natural that they both have executives on the board. MGM senior vice president and Chief Compliance Officer Stephen Martino once headed gaming regulatory agencies in Kansas and Maryland, while Caesars has installed executive vice president of public policy and corporate responsibility Jan Jones in the association.
The American Gaming Association (AGA), as one might expect, is quite pleased with the formation of SWIMA.
“The formation of the Sports Wagering Integrity Monitoring Association (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,” said AGA senior vice president of public affairs Sara Slane.
“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.”
It is likely that even without an organization like SWIMA, the sportsbooks – land based and online – would work together and share information in order to maintain the integrity of the industry, but having a formal association should help tighten the bonds of collaboration.
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