US-Based Anti-Fraud Group SWIMA Announces Its Official Launch
The United States-based Sports Wagering Integrity Monitoring Association (SWIMA) has announced its official launch as the US’s leading multi-jurisdictional organization tasked with detecting and discouraging “fraud and other illegal or unethical activity related to betting on sporting events in the United States.”
The not-for-profit SWIMA was created last November as the US’s equivalent of Europe’s successful ESSA (Europe Sport Security Association), which has played a key role in identifying fraud and corruption in numerous sports and sports-betting cases. SWIMA will unite sports-betting and gambling entities in the US with federal, state and tribal regulators and law enforcement, all of whom have regulatory or enforcement responsibilities that continue to grow as legalized sports wagering expands across the country.
SWIMA now offers the following as its mission statement: “SWIMA brings together sports book operators and regulators across the United States to protect the integrity of sports betting by collaboratively identifying suspicious wagering activity.” The anti-fraud entity has also launched its official online portal, at www.swima.net. The organization is expected to have a strong presence in monitoring online sports-betting matters, an area of concern that the US’s other multi-operator entity, the American Gaming Association, was forced to abandon years ago under pressure from its leading funding source, Sheldon Adelson’s Las Vegas Sands, Inc. The AGA had some small input into and congratulated SWIMA upon its creation, but will likely have only an arm’s-length relationship with the new group in the short term.
Initially conceptualized by officials with MGM and Caesars, two companies that have been very proactive in moving into the US’s newly expanded sports-betting sphere, the Sports Wagering Integrity Monitoring Association still needed to roll out with broad-based support. The organization has achieved exactly that, debuting with these 26 entities:
- bet365 Group
- Caesars Entertainment Corporation
- Churchill Downs/BetAmerica
- FanDuel Group
- Gaming Innovation Group
- Golden Nugget Inc.
- Hard Rock International
- MGM Resorts International
- Monmouth Park/Darby Development
- New Meadowlands Racetrack
- Ocean Casino Resort
- Penn National Gaming
- PointsBet USA, Inc.
- Resorts Casino Hotel
- Rush Street Interactive
- Scientific Games
- The Stars Group
- Tropicana Atlantic City
- William Hill
To the surprise of few, Las Vegas Sands, Inc. is not among SWIMA’s debut membership.
Each corporate member receives a seat on SWIMA’s Board of Delegates, which will oversee policy matters. SWIMA will also have a Board of Trustees tasked with organizing and supervising the group’s operations, led by Chief Integrity Officer George Rover, who was previously the former Assistant Attorney General and Deputy Director of the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement. As noted last November, Rover will run SWIMA on a day-to-day basis.
Besides Rover, the new anti-fraud group’s inaugural Board of Trustees also includes:
- Ronald Lemanowicz, SWIMA Operations Manager; former Supervising Investigator, New Jersey State Attorney General’s Office
- Stephen Martino, SWIMA Board of Trustees Member; Senior Vice President & Chief Compliance Officer, MGM Resorts International
- Jan Jones, SWIMA Board of Trustees Member; Executive Vice President of Public Policy Corporate Responsibility, Caesars and former Las Vegas Mayor
“We are eager and ready to assist all stakeholders involved in the sports betting market to ensure a safe and secure betting environment for consumers across the country,” said George Rover. “In partnership with gaming regulators and law enforcement officials, we are determined to help prevent fraudulent and manipulative behavior that could negatively affect the integrity of sporting event – something that does not occur with the widespread illegal sports betting market.”
According to its launch statement, “SWIMA is fully funded by sports betting operators in all markets in the United States and does not require funding from any state or the federal government, taxpayers or the sports leagues. SWIMA works with sports betting operators, risk management professionals and gaming regulators in identifying unusual betting activity that could result in investigation by regulatory and law enforcement agencies.”
The new entity also plans on continuing to work with Europe’s ESSA, which consulted with SWIMA for many months on the framework and objectives of its new US-based counterpart. In a rough parallel with ESSA, SWIMA notes that it is “fully funded by sports betting operators in all markets in the United States and does not require funding from any state or the federal government, taxpayers or the sports leagues. The new group will work with sports betting operators, risk management professionals and gaming regulators in identifying unusual betting activity that could result in investigation by regulatory and law enforcement agencies.”