Protecting sporting integrity – the challenges of managing data on a global scale

Watching sports is a global pastime that has been enjoyed for centuries. But, today there is a challenge to the integrity of the sports that we enjoy. This challenge comes from the ability of stakeholders in sports gambling to manage data in a secure and efficient manner.

The growth of the Internet means that huge amounts of data are gathered and processed every day. This is no different in the world of sports gambling. It’s important to make sure that people gamble legally, and that when they do, their personal data is processed and stored in a secure manner. The introduction of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), on 25 May 2018, further necessitates careful handling of personal data relating to EU citizens.

Why is personal data so important to stakeholders?

Land based bookmakers and online sports books both use customers’ personal data in order to provide a comprehensive betting service. They use the data when accepting bets and making payouts. They also tailor marketing materials and promotions to the needs of customers based on the customer profile they obtain from examining personal data.

Another important reason for processing personal data is to identify suspicious betting patterns. This information can be shared with the authorities in order to protect sporting integrity.

The importance of protecting the integrity of sports

The idea of any sport is that the winner triumphs because they deserve to do so. This could be because they are stronger, faster or more talented. Whatever the reason for the victory, it should not be due to external influence, such as the taking of illegal substances or suspicious betting.

This is why it’s so important for stakeholders such as sports teams, bookmakers and legal authorities to co-operate, and share information, in order to prevent sporting results from being adversely affected by illegal betting practices.

The challenge of data protection

It’s obvious that the integrity of sport needs to be protected in this way. But, one of the biggest challenges that this presents is to give this protection, while complying with laws like the GDPR which help to protect the rights of individuals.

In order to ensure that data is protected, it’s important that stakeholders put processes and procedures in place that help to ensure compliance with the law. Contracts and memorandums of understanding between stakeholders must also be drawn up with data protection compliance in mind.

While bookmakers, online sports books, sports teams and regulating bodies all have a vested interest in protecting sporting integrity, they also have an obligation to process personal data in a legal manner. As far as compliance with the GDPR is concerned, this means that they need to fully document the way in which they process. This is due to the fact that compliance does not just involve adhering to the stipulations of the GDPR, it also involves being able to show exactly how you have done so.


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