Report: Seminar Experiencing sports through online betting. By Matthijs Goes.

Professional Darts Corporation: ‘Betting adds excitement’ 

Should Dutch lawmakers regulate and, in so doing, allow betting in sports? This question keeps popping up in media. Will it boost addiction, will it be a threat to integrity of sportsmen, or will it just be a blessing in adding fun and entertainment. The Professional Darts Corporation is clear: ‘Betting adds excitement and increases funding for sports.’

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On tuesday november 11 “Speel Verantwoord” organised a seminar about sport betting in Eindhoven’s Centre for Sports marketing and media. Main subject, should the Netherlands regulate betting in sports and what kinds of bets should be allowed? Speel Verantwoord is a non-profit organization uniting the interest of several suppliers of online gaming and betting.

The session was opened by Rutger-Jan Hebben, director of Speel Verantwoord, he stressed that sports can benefit significantly from opening the market to online betting. As much as €100 million could become available in sponsoring and endorsements from online bookmakers. Some sports find it difficult to have their matches aired on television, but sports betting relies on live streaming of events, so it provides this, which can also benefit sports associations.

Next up was Eric Konings, public affairs officer at Unibet, he explains the calculation of odds and how these can prevent fraudulent play. Regulating sports betting in the Netherlands is key to creating a transparent market. Otherwise people would be tempted to bet at less audited Asian providers. Which may have higher payouts, but are also less transparent. Konings explains that Unibet has invested over €200 million in sport since its inception in 1997. THE FULL PRESENTATION CAN BE DOWNLOADED HERE Presentatie seminar SpeelVerantwoord – Eric Konings (Unibet)

Matthew Porter, CEO of the Professional Darts Corporation, tells the sporting success story of turning darts from a pub game to a major event. The breakthrough came when Sky Television started airing the matches on pay tv. This opened the market for betting. The revenues from selling tv rights and from sponsor deals make it possible to have over €10 million in prize money. Which in turn makes it possible for professional darters to earn a living, and for aspiring darters to improve theirs skills. Key to the success of darts are the simple rules of the game and the independent governing body controlling the rules, which insures integrity of the game. Matthew’s PRESENTATION CAN BE DOWNLOADED: Presentatie Seminar SpeelVerantwoord – Matthew Porter (PDC)

Following the three speakers was a panel discussion led by Jack de Vries, communication strategist and former politician. Members of the panel: prof. Ben van Rompuy, researches integrity in sport, Toon Gerbrands ceo PSV, Gerard Marsman, technical director Football managers association and Rutger-Jan Hebben.

Professor Van Rompuy marks that regulating betting is an opportunity for the Netherlands, and that no clear examples of match fixing have been identified in the country as of now. Gerbrands thinks clubs should contract their players to not bet on own matches, but that PSV has not yet put those contracts in place. Furthermore he opposes spot bets on (yellow) cards, because those events are easily fixable. Other forms of real time betting would be permissible agree all panel members. Van Rompuy remarks that a lot of attention is given to futile details like spot betting in smaller leagues, those bets will not be provided by bookmakers, because they are to risky.

De Vries asks whether or not the panel thinks regulating betting will enlarge the risk of addictions. The general thought is that regulating makes it easier to measure addictions and not regulating will drive betters to illegal suppliers. Which doesn’t help transparency.

Final remark of Jack de Vries is that consumer will decide for themselves what they do, so regulating would be a good solution.