MGM, Caesars Lead Rollout of New SWIMA Sports Integrity Association
Two prominent United States-based casino-entertainment giants, MGM Resorts and Caesars Entertainment, have announced the formation of the Sports Wagering Integrity Monitoring Association (SWIMA), a non-profit group designed to monitor the integrity of sports betting in a rapidly expanding legalized US sports-betting market.
According to a press release announcing the association’s creation, SWIMA will unite key gaming stakeholders from across the business and enforcement segments of the industry. In addition to the as-yet-undisclosed full membership of casino partners, SWIMA’s umbrella will also include state and tribal gambling regulatory bodies, plus federal, state and tribal law enforcement groups.
SWIMA’s creation had been rumored since late September, when American Gaming Association senior vice president Sara Slane told ESPN that the AGA was collaborating on a “robust suspicious information sharing repository.” Though few specifics about SWIMA have been announced as yet — the association hasn’t even launched its formal online presence — the group was modeled after the Europe Sport Security Association (ESSA), which monitors possible occurrences of sports-betting fraud across Europe. ESSA was consulted by SWIMA’s founders for input on the creation of the group, and the two groups plan to work together and share data to further strengthen the associations’ efforts against fraudulent activity.
SWIMA’s launch release offered these as the group’s primary goals:
- Providing a safe and secure betting environment for consumers in the legal markets in the United States; and
- Protecting the integrity of sports betting and related activity by detecting bad actors and discouraging activities that profit from unfair betting markets.
No formal list of SWIMA members has been announced, though MGM and Caesars executives are already on board in lead roles, signaling their involvement. MGM’s participation in SWIMA is led by Stephen Martino, the company’s senior vice president and chief compliance officer for MGM. Martino’s prior experience includes posts as the chief gaming regulator in both Maryland and Kansas. Caesars will be represented in SWIMA by Jan Jones, the executive vice president of public policy and corporate responsibility.
Martino and Jones will both serve on SWIMA’s Board of Trustees, while another prominent post in the anti-fraud group will be filled by former New Jersey assistant attorney general and deputy director of the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (NJDGE), George Rover. Rover will become SWIMA’s chief integrity officer and will be in charge of day-to-day operations.
“We are excited to roll out the first Integrity Monitoring Association in the United States, ensuring a safe and secure betting environment for consumers across the country,” said Rover. “We look forward to partnering with gaming regulators and law enforcement in all states that legalize sports betting to undermine fraud and manipulation and protect the integrity of sports betting.”
While the AGA’s formative help was unspecified, it and VP Slane also issued a statement acknowledging SWIMA’s debut. “The formation of the Sports Wagering Integrity Monitoring Association (SWIMA) serves as another important milestone toward realizing the benefits of a legal, regulated sports betting market in the United States, which provides robust consumer protection, increased transparency and additional tax revenues for state and local governments,” said Slane. “Today’s announcement comes at a critical time as dozens of states and sovereign tribal nations are poised to pursue legal sports betting in 2019. Moving forward, SWIMA will provide an important hub for all stakeholders to work together, further demonstrating the industry’s commitment to upholding integrity across all facets of a legal, regulated sports betting market.”