Juan Mendez: “The Peruvian market is critical as it is continually growing”

Juan Mendez, manager of Integrity Partnerships, LATAM, at Sportradar.
Juan Mendez, manager of Integrity Partnerships, LATAM, at Sportradar.

Focus Gaming News spoke with Juan Mendez, manager of Integrity Partnerships, LATAM, at Sportradar, before attending a new edition of the Peru Gaming Show.

Exclusive interview.- Sportradar returns to Peru Gaming Show after a two-year hiatus with the focus on discussing the evolution of its integrity services and its tools to fight against match-fixing.

Focus Gaming News has engaged in an exclusive interview with Juan Mendez, manager of Integrity Partnerships, LATAM, at Sportradar to talk about the importance of being at the Peru Gaming Show and what are the plans of the company for the event.

Sportradar will once again be present at the Peru Gaming Show. How important is this event to you?

It is great to be attending the show as it brings together partners from across the Gaming and Sports industries, providing the opportunity to discuss the evolution of our integrity services, the innovative solutions we are providing and ways we can continue to keep sports clean.

The Peruvian market is critical as it is continually growing and has also been financially affected by match-fixing. I’m excited to travel to Peru to network in-person, learn what our peers are doing to tackle corruption and share the latest solutions Sportradar is providing clients.

What plans have you prepared for this event?

We are participating in a panel with the Peruvian Football Federation and Betcris, discussing how our Universal Fraud Detection System is benefitting both rightsholders and operators in the global fight against match-fixing. The UFDS is offered to all partners free of charge and provides critical visibility into worldwide betting patterns and enables suspicious activity to be detected. 

Some of the conferences that will take place this year are linked to the recovery of the gaming sector. Did you see any impacts on sporting integrity during the pandemic and what is the current state of the industry?

Breaches in sporting integrity affect everyone within the industry. Last year we released figures that highlighted how the match-fixing threat had risen during the pandemic. Criminals developed new ways to target players and officials.

The damages associated with corruption are substantial and pervasive, harming federations and operators both reputationally and financially, whilst making fans question the legitimacy of competition. And, with the money generated from corrupt betting activities often funding criminal organisations and illicit activities, governments and regular citizens also suffer.

This is what motivates Sportradar to provide industry-leading solutions to combat corruption across bet monitoring and detection, education and prevention, intelligence and investigation, anti-doping and auditing.

Sportradar will be part of the debate about sports betting fraud detection systems. How will Sportradar’s Universal Fraud Detection System (UFDS) benefit the Latin American market?

The UFDS has been developed over several years and is supported by Sportradar’s 17 years of historical data and expertise in integrity. We offer industry-leading technology and are comprised of a team of experts who support over 100 partners globally.

The service is offered at no financial cost to rightsholders, and betting patterns are analysed for abnormalities by a global team of qualified integrity experts. Any detected irregularities can support criminal investigations conducted by the authorities. In 2021 alone, 65 sanctions for match-fixing were supported by evidence provided by the UFDS and we have a strong history of involvement in successful cases in Latin America.

Earlier this year, we expanded our partnership with the Brazilian Football Confederation, and as more leagues and federations throughout LATAM are provided with the UFDS, the more efficient and proactive the region will become in protecting its sporting competition. 

Sportradar is committed to backing the integrity efforts of sports federations across LATAM and the UFDS is a vital tool in our arsenal.

“In 2021 alone, 65 sanctions for match-fixing were supported by evidence provided by the UFDS.”

Juan Mendez, manager of Integrity Partnerships, LATAM, at Sportradar.

Sportradar also partners with law enforcement agencies, how does this help tackle match-fixing and corruption?

With government authorities also observing the steady rise in sporting corruption, the mutual objectives of preventing match-fixing and catching potential wrongdoers have made the collaboration with Sportradar a natural development. 

As a result, we have been able to establish a best practice of exchanging knowledge of the global landscape, as well as assisting with investigations through sharing of evidence. This cooperation benefits all parties and helps us to deepen our collective understanding of global integrity issues, so we can continuously develop our products and services.

Sportradar has a proven track record of successfully supporting government bodies to effectively tackle match-fixing across all regions and in different sports. At the end of 2021, we signed a memorandum of understanding with the Brazilian Federal Police as a joint effort to safeguard the nation’s sport. 

This agreement was just the most recent in Sportradar’s cooperation with police and law enforcement agencies, which includes Europol, Spain’s Guardia Civil, and the Bulgarian, Austrian and French Federal Police, among others.

Sportradar recently launched its Integrity Exchange Service which will see the company work alongside bookmakers to fight match-fixing and corruption. How will this benefit the sports betting industry in LATAM?

The Sportradar Integrity Exchange is another key component in the anti-match-fixing fight and will enable bookmakers to play an even bigger role in their integrity efforts. Through this zero-cost initiative, we are combining our vast network of sportsbook partners with our understanding of the betting industry to create a truly collaborative means to fight match-fixing.

In Latin America and internationally, there is a common misconception of the role of bookmakers in match-fixing. We understand that betting operators are on the front line against corruption and any wrongdoing causes considerable financial and reputational damage. This is why many have the desire to address the issue, but often unfortunately lack the resources to resolve a problem that affects them so seriously. 

Sportradar sees operators as part of the solution, and it is our goal to provide them with the tools and support to be an active integrity player. On top of the UFDS, the Integrity Exchange helps deepen understanding of the issue. The initial feedback we have received has been warmly welcomed by our partners.

What is your outlook on the evolution of the Peruvian market soon?

The Peruvian market is already one of the strongest in the region and regulation will bring even more opportunities for the industry. As you will see from our panel with the Peruvian FA and Betcris, we are already supporting the integrity efforts of prominent rightsholders and operators, delivering the highest levels of protection for the country’s sporting competitions. 

As the market grows, more federations will look to implement these vital integrity initiatives, making demand for the UFDS, Integrity Exchange and our other services ever greater. 

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