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Francesco Baranca about fighting against fixed matches: Intuition is not among our tools

Francesco Baranca about fighting against fixed matches: Intuition is not among our tools

Francesco Baranca about fighting against fixed matches: Intuition is not among our tools

25 September 2017

CEO of Federbet association Francesco Baranca is an expert in detecting fixed matches, who has revealed hundreds of matches featuring unfair players and teams over the years of his work. In the interview to the press service of Riga Gaming Congress, he tells how match-fixing practices infiltrate fantasy and e-sports and how Federbet takes effective measures to fight for true sports values.

Interviewer: Riga Gaming Congress (RGC)
Speaker: Francesco Baranca (F.B.)

RGC: In your work you rely on the analytics of betting, e-sports, and fantasy sports markets. From which sources do you get the data, with whom do you collaborate?

F.B.: Federbet specialists monitoring gaming sector about strange and unusual bets. We are collecting and checking data from our bookmakers’ partners. We are analyzing betting flows indicating the amounts of money involved aiming to uncover attempts of Match-Fixing. Also analyzing of the rumors related to Match-Fixing attempts in social media.

E-Sport and fantasy sports – new trends related to betting. So the practice of contractual matches in this sphere, too new. In the case of e-sports – everything is similar, but we are at the initial stage.

The practice will be the same, and methods of our influence are becoming more frequent. In that match, the result is known in advance to interested sides; indicate strange movement in rates, as well as in traditional sports.

RGC: Does Federbet have its own classification of fixed matches? Does it apply to e-sports and fantasy sports? What types of fixed matches are the most common?

F.B.: We don’t have our own match-fixing classification. Corruption can take many forms – fixing by players, referees, or team officials, fixing with both teams involved. The problem is always the usual, the offer has expanded to a great extent and for fixing "hunters", and it becomes a priority to find "new" markets. So they seek clubs with budget problems, they offer gold bridges and then try to act, hoping they will not be discovered.

I've always been a liberal in terms of betting on bets, but now I think we're passing the mark. And one way to stop them (and do it in the competitions where the children play) is to stop, without and without the need, data transfer. In Ukraine (where is the new Federal Prosecutor of the FFU) I will propose a standard of this kind.

RGC: Please, tell us how fixed matched are revealed in e-sports. Is the whole procedure based on figures and algorithms? Or does the intuition play an important role?

F.B.: First, you need to eliminate this problem. We need to work on preventing it, reducing costs and increasing efficiency. We need concrete actions, cooperation of all stakeholders. It is also necessary to teach law enforcement agencies to combat this problem. In addition, it is necessary to solve the problem of dishonest game without unnecessary hype. Intuition is not among our tools, we have to keep head cold and analyze mathematical possibilities.

RGC: How widespread are fixed matches in e-sports in comparison with traditional sports? What are the trends in 2017? Is their number growing or falling?

F.B.: There is no difference in what kind of match it is. The principle of contractual fights is always the same for different competitions and sports. As for the tools, we observe the market, and also use the information provided by our partners.

There is a lot of fraud in e-sports nowadays. We distinguish two types of fraud. First one – players agree in advance about the final result. The second one is selling of insider information. The top-players could illegally use confidential insider information for “work in advance”.

RGC: Does the statistics of fixed matches differ in e-sports for certain tournaments or types of games? Are there any tournaments or games that you pay special attention to?

F.B.: There is no this kind of statistics, because e-sports analytics on the stage of developing. In e-sports there are a lot of cases of fraud, in which large amounts of money are involved. For such crimes, 12 people have already been arrested in Korea. Some players received life-time bans from eSports. They received money from brokers and approached players about match-fixing or connecting players directly with match-fixing brokers, and then they lost games. This problem is especially urgent for young people. Determine whether fraud occurred in fantasy and e-sports is exactly the same as in traditional sports, or even easier.

RGC: How popular is fantasy sports in Europe? Has its popularity grown in 2017?

F.B.: The pioneers in fantasy sports and e-sports developing are USA and Canada. According to statistics, in 2016, 57.4 million people played in Fantasy sport in North America. Of these, 20% are Americans, 17% are Canadians, that is, one in five of the country's inhabitants. At the end of 2016, there were more than 22.6 million e-sports viewers in Europe. This huge number testifying a growing interest. The market of e-sports in the CIS countries is still very young, but is developing rapidly, but here the audience is not well acquainted with fantasy sport. The expert noted that people who put on fantasy and e-sports are much more active bettors than players who prefer to bet on traditional sports.

RGC: What are your main recommendations for bookmakers on fighting against match-fixing?

F.B.: First, of all do not keep silence. Silence always helping to spread this problem worldwide. Bookmakers are the victims of this problem. Eastern European bookmakers were the first to oppose this. They didn’t hide their heads in sand and trying to cooperate for combat match-fixing.

RGC: What will you tell about at Riga Gaming Congress 2017? How could the presentation be useful to listeners?

F.B.: E-sports became extremely popular in Eastern Europe. Like in every popular kind of sports, we can see appearing of crime organizations, who trying to use competitions for their own profit. I’m goona tell how to identify, prevent fixing in e-sports and how to prevent of this.

Figures, facts, and real cases of fixed matches in fantasy and e-sports in the presentation of Francesco Baranca at Riga Gaming Congress 2017! Register to learn more.


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