From ad-hoc groups to UMIG
Since 2019, ULIS had been monitoring major tournaments, through ad-hoc groups composed of traders and analysts from lottery members. The different ad-hoc groups were coordinated by ULIS Headquarters in Lausanne, in collaboration with its monitoring hubs in Hong Kong, Canada and Denmark.
For every major sport event, each ad-hoc monitoring group acquired extensive experience on how lotteries worldwide can effectively collaborate to monitor the global betting market. The UEFA EURO 2020, FIFA Arab Cup 2021, 2021 Tokyo Olympic Games, UEFA Women's EURO 2022, FIFA World Cup in Qatar and Winter Olympic Games in Beijing were among the events monitored.
However, because the composition of the ad-hoc groups could change depending on the experts nominated by each lottery member of the groups, the General Secretary in Lausanne took the initiative to propose the constitution of a permanent group to monitor major sport events. The advantage of having a permanent group is multifold: it benefits from the knowledge of the same participants, reduces administrative work required to put in place several groups for different events, and enables the accumulation of in-house expertise over time.
A survey sent to ULIS members in December 2022 confirmed that this was the right way to move forward as all respondents agreed with the proposition to create a permanent monitoring group. Based on the successful modus operandi of the ad-hoc groups, and the unanimous agreement to pursue this direction, in February 2023, the ULIS Executive Committee approved the creation of a fixed monitoring group called the ULIS Monitoring & Intelligence Group (UMIG).
UMIG stands for:
- Creating: a sustainable intelligence knowledge network among members
- Collaborating: by monitoring major international sports events together with the ULIS Operations Team
- Educating: traders on sports integrity issues and international collaboration
How UMIG monitoring works
When monitoring a tournament, UMIG meets regularly (before, during and after the event) to exchange information on risks and analysis of their respective markets, and any other relevant integrity issues. For certain tournaments, ULIS is also part of the international sport organization’s integrity task force, or has an operational agreement in place with the sport organization in question. This is the case for the Olympic Games, UEFA and FIFA competitions. For these competitions, ULIS Headquarters coordinates all UMIG operations. It shares information it receives with the sports body’s integrity task force, or integrity department, in a way that makes the cooperation more effective in identifying any potentially suspicious sports competition manipulation. At the end of the tournament, an integrity report is produced by the ULIS Operations Team and is shared with UMIG and the sports organization concerned.
UMIG monitoring of 2023 FIFA and FIBA World Cups
Women’s football quality and standards have improved
In 2023, UMIG monitored the FIFA Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand and the FIBA Men’s Basketball World Cup 2023, jointly organized by Indonesia, Japan and The Philippines. Following the monitoring of these tournaments and exchange with UMIG analysts, the final report on the FIFA Womens’ World Cup revealed that the quality and standards of women’s football have improved, despite the fact that the number of teams went from 24 to 32. Data coming from UMIG showed that the addition of new teams to FIFA’s flagship event did not increase the discrepancy between the best and least competitive teams. Furthermore, this assumption can be corroborated by the following data also collected by UMIG: the largest margin win was seven goals compared to 13 in 2019; less than 40% of matches landed over selections in the total goals market, and a total of 10 matches ended scoreless in regular time, a lot more than in 2019.
FIBA men’s basketball final turnover was six times more than the average of all matches
For the FIBA men’s basketball tournament final, UMIG reported that the turnover was six times more than the average of all matches. ULIS lottery member participants of UMIG also revealed that the biggest percentage on the winning margin game was the match between Iran and Lebanon on the classification round.
In 2024, the Paris Summer Olympic Games and UEFA Euro 2024, in Germany, will be monitored and we can expect more interesting insights from UMIG monitoring and intelligence.