Code of Conduct
Our code of conduct
ESSA regards its Code of Conduct as an important statement by its members of their commitment to socially responsible sports betting. The Code should be seen in conjunction with each member’s national licensing requirements.
The ESSA Code of Conduct is based upon the following overriding principles:
1. ESSA’s Early Warning System
ESSA’s Early Warning System helps members to quickly and efficiently determine if any fraudulent activity or manipulation is taking place on any given sports event covered by the members of ESSA. The time taken from initial alert to a reply from all members to the ESSA head bookmaker should take no longer than 60 minutes. Each member must appoint four contact persons to whom an alert can be sent and/or who can send an alert to the ESSA security team. The contact persons must come from the bookmaking or security team of the member.
2. Preventing conflicts of interests
Members must avoid ethical conflicts and observe at all times the necessary precautions to preserve integrity in sports. This means members’ personnel cannot bet on their own betting product. Members should play absolutely no role or have a direct influence on decisions taken by any athlete, team, and the event they sponsor or contribute towards. They should also not allow sports organisations to have a controlling interest in their company. Members will support action from any sports event organisers or sporting body to prevent players, athletes, coaches, club managers or any other individuals that are directly associated with that sport from betting on any event in which they are participating.
3. Sports integrity: internal policies & operational control
Members must have adequate tools and processes in place to ensure adequate risk management and ensure a risk-based approach to their operations. In light of available technology and national licensing requirements, members should – without limitation – have the tools in place to monitor incoming bets, to adhere to the highest Know-Your-Customer (KYC) and Know-Your-Transaction (KYT) requirements, to be aware of risks for potential match fixing, to not allow individual customers to place high stakes without manual approval, and to escalate any potential issue to the appropriate levels within their organisation.
Due to the potentially continuous character of the operations, members need to have people covering risk management working 24/7/365 when appropriate. If the member’s responsible risk manager sees betting behavior or market behavior that he cannot explain, the general instruction is to suspend the bet offered. Suspicious betting behavior is when an event is attracting much more interest than normal during a very short period of time. Suspicious market behavior is when betting operators are adjusting their prices heavily without public information justifying such moves.
4. ESSA cooperation with sports regulators, federations & public bodies
The Early Warning System allows ESSA to work hand in hand with the sporting bodies ensuring that if and when an alert is given by ESSA members, the sports regulator is informed immediately. This may help identify and prevent the possibility of any game manipulation on a given event. Following their own investigation, assuming the sport regulator deems it necessary to take legal or other action against a person or a group of persons within their sport, ESSA will cooperate with them and the public bodies. So far ESSA has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with a number of sport federations (UEFA, FIFA, IOC etc) and will continue to sign MoUs on an ongoing basis with those sport federations where there is currently no cooperation.
5. Responsible gaming – General
ESSA is committed to socially responsible sports betting and appropriate management of problem sports-related betting. Therefore, ESSA members agree to adopt additional self-regulatory controls, and agree to adhere to responsible gaming, sports betting regulations and guidelines established in their national licensing requirements.
Members should display on their website and/or in their retail outlets the information that explains their integrity procedures and responsible gaming rules. Members should adhere to the following features:
- Registration and ongoing player verification processes, where required by their national licensing requirements.
- The option for players to be excluded.
- The option for players to establish bet and deposit limits.
- The option to provide players with a statement of their account activity whenever gaming is conducted through individual player accounts.
- Security measures to combat fraud.
6. Protection of minors & socially vulnerable
Members shall implement all reasonable and adequate security measures to prevent access to sports betting products, including player registration or participation, by persons who have not reached the legal age for betting in their jurisdiction, and shall post an age restriction notice on the home page of their website or in their retail outlets.
7. Consumer privacy & data protection – disclosure of information
ESSA complies with the applicable legislation on personal data protection, in particular when processing personal data made available by a member in relation with any irregular betting patterns or insider betting within the framework of the Early Warning System.
Members acknowledge that they comply with all applicable legislation on personal data protection, especially when collecting personal data from customers, by informing them properly about the various purposes of the processing and the categories of recipients of their personal data, taking into account data processing in the framework of the Early Warning System.
ESSA shall inform the relevant sports federation of any suspicious betting on an event organised by said federation and possibly transfer the above-mentioned personal data to the federation in order to enable the latter to take appropriate action. To this end, the member transfers to ESSA the management of its litigation business related to the preservation of the integrity of betting and gaming activities as far as contacts with sports federations are concerned.
8. Enforcement & disciplinary actions
In application of the appropriate ESSA disciplinary procedure, members may be excluded from ESSA in relation to:
- Knowingly assisting, e.g. by continuing to accept bets even after the ESSA member knows that such event may be a ‘suspicious’ event.
- Failing to report knowledge or suspicion, or where there are reasonable grounds from knowing or suspecting, tipping- off, or prejudicing an investigation, e.g. inform the account holder he is or could be under investigation; making public any details about a possible investigation without consent of the Secretary General.
- Placing bets with other betting operators, including ESSA members, on events that have been reported as potentially suspicious, either for personal gain or to hedge risks for the ESSA member concerned.
- Breaching the Code of Conduct, membership terms and conditions and/or any action that may seriously jeopardize the overall objective of ESSA or bring the reputation of ESSA into disrepute.