Artificial intelligence (AI) is becoming more common in the world of sports betting as operators begin to implement it to help them set odds and punters make use of it to determine who might prove to be a winning bet. Another use of AI, however, has been to detect match-fixing in sport. Protecting the integrity of sport is crucial. Incidents of match- or event fixing can harm clubs, leagues and federations.
Earlier this year, Sportradar Integrity Services, a unit of Sportradar that provides global sports integrity solutions, revealed in its second annual report on betting corruption and match-fixing that it had found 1,112 suspicious matches in 2022. This was within 12 sports and in 92 countries. The company monitors 850,000 matches across more than 70 sports across the world. Sportradar used AI to detect this and it’s a massive innovation for the sports industry and for sports betting that will help sports to preserve their integrity. Below is a further look at how the AI software works and how it will help in the fight against corruption in sport.
How AI is detecting the match-fixing
Advances in Sportradar’s AI technology, which have been integrated with the Universal Fraud Detection System (UFDS), has played a part in detecting 438 of the matches. The application of the technology in the system means that more than 500 data points are being processed for every match the company covers. This includes the odds, turnover and statistical data relating to the state of the game.
It also means the processing is going on throughout the lifecycle of a match’s betting markets, so data around the game and betting are under the watchful eye of the AI. It’s equivalent to more than 30 billion odds changes from more than 600 betting operators being analysed. Match fixers are left with little room to hide.
This isn’t the only activity the AI analyses. It also looks at betting data on an account level to spot any suspicious activity that might otherwise have been unconfirmable. The model receives periodic retraining on the latest data to evolve and detect the newest match-fixing methods. The model makes a prediction when all the markets are settled as to whether there is potential match-fixing going on. Then it’s up to Sportradar’s analyst to take next steps.
Impact on the sport and betting industries
Use of such software will undoubtedly be welcomed by betting sites in the UK and sporting federations around the world, with sports integrity groups and investigators into match-fixing praising the development. The software is a big step forward and the fact that Sportradar has made the technology available to sports organisations for free will have a huge impact. Some sports and their leagues, federations or clubs have come under major attack from match fixers because they didn’t have the money to monitor potential match-fixing.
The implementation of the AI technology could lead to more sanctions and more convictions for match-fixing. Leagues and federations will have the choice of investigating the possible match-fixing themselves, passing on the information to the local police or calling upon Sportsradar itself to conduct an investigation.
Corruption cases can shake a sport to its foundations. The use of AI technology to help protect a sport will restore its integrity and public faith in it. Sports bettors will also have more confidence when betting, knowing that whichever way the result goes and whether they win or lose, the game has been contested cleanly.
Sports organisations and betting operators alike will welcome the development of AI technology to tackle match-fixing. Punters, sports fans, sports organisations and the athletes themselves can all go about their duties safe in the knowledge that the days of match manipulating could well be numbered.