AGCO’s Doug Hood: The Importance of Sports Integrity
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AGCO’s Doug Hood: The Importance of Sports Integrity

Doug Hood, the Project Director of gaming modernization at the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO), has recently taken part in an interview with Insider Sport

During this interview, Hood gave his personal take on the difficulties that have inevitably come about with attempting to protect sports integrity, as well as the reasons as to why one party alone cannot feasibly safeguard it

This emphasis on the importance of sports integrity comes in the wake of an avalanche of cases in the sports betting world in which several professional sport leagues had to take drastic and legal measures against their players and team members for violating their strict gambling rules

Amongst these, Toronto Raptor’s Jontay Porter from the NBA has recently received a lifetime ban from the league after an investigation into his case revealed multiple betting irregularities. 

Not too long after Porter, former defensive lineman Shawn Lemon from the Canadian Football League (CFL) also came under fire for several betting policy violations. 

With Porter and Lemon, there are several other cases that have recently surfaced, all involving members of professional sporting leagues violating gambling rules. 

Doug Hood’s comments on this pertinent issue 

In the rather enlightening interview that Hood took part in, the AGCO Project Director commented at length on the drastic need to not minimize the importance of sports integrity

More specifically, Hood elaborated on the way in which the burden of protecting the integrity of sports should not solely fall on the shoulders of one entity but, rather, it must be shared between operators, regulators, as well as sports administrators

“We have been specifically and strongly committed to protecting sports betting integrity from the outset – it really is at the heart of the regulatory framework that we set up in 2022. Sports betting integrity involves a complex ecosystem and our role within it is nuanced. The crucial word for us is ‘betting’ as we have oversight of the betting markets but do not regulate sport – and nobody wants us to. 

“While we directly regulate the gaming operators and service providers in Ontario’s regulated sports betting market, the betting integrity component is a space where we have to work collaboratively given that sports are being bet on around the globe and we only have one piece of the puzzle. A key for us in these first couple of years, then, has been to develop a strong network of relationships across industry, integrity organisations, sports leagues and law enforcement.” 

It is evident that effectively monitoring and enforcing sports and betting integrity is a very complex task that not all entities can adequately accomplish. 

With this aim in mind, several entities, such as the International Betting Integrity Association (IBIA), have forged partnerships with sports betting operators and are constantly conducting data-driven reviews

Despite this, however, it is easy to see how many issues can slip through the cracks of this tightly knit formation. 

In his interview, Hood made several comments in this regard, and pointed out how, from a total of 650,000 sporting events, the IBIA only issued a total of 180 alerts of perceived suspicious betting activity.  

The actual number of suspicious betting activities is likely to be much higher than this, but the time and resources necessary to detect them are significant

“When we launched our sports betting framework, we knew that sports betting integrity issues would not be common but that they could be very impactful – and that has proven to be the case. Last year, for example, the International Betting Integrity Association (IBIA) only issued 180 alerts covering around 650,000 sporting events. With that in mind, having the right technology and data analytics capacity in place is at the forefront of all sports betting integrity efforts because it is like finding a needle in a haystack.” 

With regards to the use of technology, Hood stated the following: 

“Technology is the key to identifying those rare incidents so we can act on them. Moving forward, newer technologies like artificial intelligence will be used for more effectively spotting trouble, as well as for causing it, so we are going to have to both leverage and keep a close eye on them as a regulator.” 

Hood will be a key speaker during the Canadian Gamming Summit of 2024, taking place later in the month of June. With regards to this, the Project Director made the following comment: 

“During our panel at the Summit, you will hear how entities like IC360 (formerly US Integrity) and IBIA undertake pretty sophisticated data-driven reviews of sporting events from around the world, in collaboration with their member operators, to identify suspicious betting patterns.” 

Hood ended his interview with the following statements: 

“It is also important to note that these partnerships need to span the globe and address grey and black markets, as well as regulated markets, because the risk for competition manipulation and other criminal behaviour is often higher when the gambling in question takes place outside of regulation. 

“Nobody should be putting their heads in the sand as corruption can impact any sport in any country in the world – whether they have legalised sports betting or not.” 

Below, we have gone into significantly more detail about the recent betting scandals that have taken place in the world of sports betting, all of which have spurred AGCO’s Doug Hood to take action

Sports betting scandals that have recently blown up  

MLB star Shohei Ohtani's longtime interpreter, Ippei Mizuhara 

Another scandal in the world of sports betting that has recently been the talk of many takes us from the NBL to the world of professional baseball

This particular scandal involves popular MLB star Shohei Ohtani and his longtime interpreter and close friend Ippei Mizuhara

Major League Baseball star Shohei Ohtani has stated that he was ‘beyond shocked’ to hear that Ippei Mizuhara, his longtime interpreter, had allegedly stolen more than $4.5 million from his bank account to use on illegal sports betting, and thus to fund his gambling addiction. 

Mizuhara is being accused of this massive theft by the lawyers hired to defend the Dodgers’ star player. 

The discovery of this alleged theft was made following an investigation into Matthew Bowyer, a bookmaker living in Orange County, California, who is suspected of carrying out illegal gambling activities

During this investigation, the name Shohei Ohtani was discovered in the bookmaker’s books

After further investigation into this matter, it was discovered that Ippei Mizuhara, the baseball star’s interpreter and trusted friend, had, allegedly, been the one responsible of stealing millions of dollars from Ohtani’s bank account in order to pay the illegal bookmaker currently being investigated. 

In recent weeks, the alleged theft that took place from the MLB star’s banking account has opened up a significantly larger issue that lies at the core of sports betting. 

Toronto Raptors Forward Jontay Porter permanently banned from the NBA 

Jontay Porter, a professional basketball player for the Toronto Raptors of the National Basketball Association (NBA), has recently been under investigation for multiple betting irregularities that have been discovered in recent months. 

The National Basketball Association is currently investigating the matter in question.  

The betting irregularities being investigated include prop bets on the player's scoring, rebound and assist totals garnered from a few of the games in which he took part in these past few months. 

If you’d like to know more about this still developing story, make sure to read the full article where we will explain all that has been uncovered so far

Shawn Lemon indefinitely suspended by CFL for violating gambling rules 

Shawn Lemon is a former Canadian football defensive lineman who has recently retired from the Canadian Football League (CFL)

The end of his impressive career, one that spanned a grand total of 13 seasons, was announced on April 10th, 2024

Only a few weeks after this announcement, an investigation into Lemon’s case revealed that there were multiple instances in which Lemon was in direct violation of the rules of the CFL. 

During the time that he was still acting as an active player in the league, Lemon had allegedly placed several sports betting wagers on games of the CFL, including bets on games that he himself had played in

This news comes as a shock to many of his peers, especially in light of the way in which less than a month has passed since Lemon announced his retirement from the Canadian Football League. 

Following this discovery, and the investigation that preceded it, Lemon was immediately handed an indefinite suspension, thus preventing him from ever returning to the CFL. 

The CFL is the latest professional sports league to take action on their players for violating their strict gambling rules. 

They are not, however, alone in this venture. In recent months alone, the NBA, MLB and the NFL have all experienced similar cases of players breaking their league’s gambling rules. 

More about the upcoming Canadian Gaming Summit and this year’s host, the SBC 

AGCO’s Doug Hood will be a key speaker at the Canadian Gaming Summit 2024, a premier event that will take place in Toronto during the month of June

Below, we have provided you with a detailed account of what this yearly event entails and what you can expect from the SBC, this year’s host. 

The Canadian Gaming Summit to return to Toronto Convention Centre 

The Canadian Gaming Summit (CGS) is Canada’s Premier Gaming and Betting Event, the 27th edition of which is already set to take place between June 18th and June 20th, 2024

For the second time in a row, the event will be hosted and produced by SBC in collaboration with the Canadian Gaming Association (CGA)

The location where it will be held has also been revealed: the Metro Toronto Convention Centre in Toronto. 

In light of this, and the entities it involves, you can expect the 2024 edition of this renowned industry event to be exceptional

What does this event entail? 

The Canadian Gaming Summit is a prestigious event that takes place on an annual basis and offers three days of networking, learning, and exploring business opportunities. 

This yearly summit is described as ‘Canada’s Premier Gaming and Betting Event’, as well as an ‘annual conference and exhibition for Gaming and Sports Betting senior executives from across Canada and beyond.’ 

This edition of the conference will mark the second occasion in which SBC will oversee the production of this annual event. 

During this conference, over 3,000 delegates are expected to be in attendance, including a number of highly respected and well-known speakers who are generally considered to be figureheads in the Canadian iGaming Industry. 

The following values describe the number of attendees who took part in last year's summit: 

  • 2,000 Delegates 

  • 600+ Operators 

  • 150+ Speakers 

  • 75+ Exhibitors 

To read more about the Canadian Gaming Summit that took place in the summer of 2023, click here. 

Who will be attending this event?

With more than 3,000 delegates attending the 2024 edition of the Canadian Gaming Summit, the following are some of the entities who were invited: 

  • Casinos 

  • Sportsbooks 

  • iGaming Operators 

  • Affiliates 

  • Lotteries/Provincial Lottery Corporations 

  • First Nations 

  • Community Gaming/Bingo 

  • Sports Teams & Leagues 

  • Regulators & Legislators 

  • Investors & Banking 

  • Associations 

  • Media 

Who is the SBC? 

The SBC, who will be hosting this year’s Canadian Gaming Summit, is a media, news, and events company that organizes global conferences and exhibitions in the betting and iGaming industry. 

SBC describes its main roles as follows: 

  • ‘Our services include advertising, editorial and consultancy work, as well as conferences, exhibitions, webinars and industry awards.’ 

  • ‘SBC organizes global industry events which include the world’s largest sports betting industry conferences and exhibitions.’ 

  • ‘SBC Media is the largest b2b news network in the betting and gaming industry, with over 100 stories posted per day across a major network of 12 news portals.’ 

  • ‘SBC continue to deliver high-quality, global networking opportunities at exclusive and iconic venues.’ 

  • ‘SBC Advisory Partners is the pioneering consulting and transaction advisory service for sports, betting & gaming organizations boasting an unrivalled network of contacts founded on the deep industry roots of its highly experienced partners and the reach of its global conferences and business media portfolio.’ 

  • ‘SBC brings together the best-in-business for the iGaming and sports betting sector, spanning across continents to report the latest industry news. We mobilize thousands of senior executives in the industry’s hotspots to initiate the right connections to innovate, grow and evolve the sports betting and iGaming industry.’ 

In addition to this, the SBC are members of the following associations

  • American Gaming Association (AGA) 

  • Canadian Gaming Association (CGA) 

  • Indian Gaming Association (IGA) 

  • Association of Gaming Equipment Manufacturers (AGEM) 

  • The European Lotteries 

The Canadian Gaming Summit 2023 

The last Canadian Gaming Summit took place between June 13th and June 15th, 2023, and marked the 26th-edition of this annual conference. 

This is an annual event that, last year, occurred at the Metro Toronto Convention Center in Toronto

This summit is described as ‘Canada’s Premier Gaming and Betting Event’, as well as an ‘annual conference and exhibition for Gaming and Sports Betting senior executives from across Canada and beyond.’ 

The 26th-edition of this renowned industry event was produced by SBC in collaboration with the Canadian Gaming Association (CGA)

This marked the first occasion in which SBC oversaw the production of this annual event. 

During this conference, over 2,000 delegates were in attendance, including a number of highly respected and well-known speakers who are figureheads in the Canadian iGaming Industry. 

The Canadian Gaming Summit 2023 was, prior to its unfolding, described as follows: 

“CGS 2023 will reflect the changing face of the industry, with a conference agenda and exhibitors that encompass both the newer sports betting sector and the more established casino gaming and lottery verticals, making it a must-attend for every company keen to do business in one of the world’s most exciting gambling markets.” 

More about the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) 

The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) is a provincial regulating agency that is responsible for a number of sectors within the province of Ontario. 

This corporation falls under the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario Act, 2019. 

The sectors that are under the jurisdiction of the AGCO include the following: 

  • Lottery and Gambling 

  • Cannabis retail stores 

  • Alcohol 

  • Horse Racing 

In accordance with this, the AGCO administers the following: 

  • The Liquor License and Control Act, 2019 

  • The Gaming Control Act, 1992 

  • The Horse Racing License Act, 2015 

  • The Cannabis License Act, 2018 

  • The charity lottery licensing Order-in-Council 1413/08 

With the public’s interest as their primary focus, this provincial regulatory agency reports to the Ministry of the Attorney General (MAG)

About the authorMelanie Cazenave
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A specialist in online casinos, she also loves proofreading. With her, it's impossible for mistakes to slip through the cracks. A true lover of letters, she binds articles and retouches them to make them as perfect as possible.

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