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Gib regulator assists in match fixing probe ending in eight-year ban for darts player

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A professional darts player from Northern Ireland has been banned from the sport for eight years following an investigation into match fixing that drew on expertise and data from regulators in three countries including Gibraltar.

The Darts Regulatory Authority [DRA], the sport's governing body, banned Kyle McKinstry for six and half years for fixing two matches and imposed a further 18-month ban for failing to provide mobile phone records.

The investigation followed two reports of suspicious betting activity filed by the International Betting Integrity Association (IBIA) after matches on April 30 and May 2 in the Modus ‘A Night at the Darts’ series.

The DRA worked with regulators in Gibraltar, the UK and Malta, as well as with operators, to identify the suspicious betting activity, while ensuring relevant data was transferred in line with data protection rules to assist the investigation.

Gibraltar’s Gambling Commissioner, Andrew Lyman, said: "Betting operators want the markets they offer to be considered clean and not subject to manipulation.”

“That is why they report suspicious betting patterns to regulators and the International Betting Integrity Association.”

“Lockdown provided its own challenges in that data providers covered less elite sport and more fringe sporting activity where there is an obvious integrity risk.”

“Match fixing is something which undermines the fundamental appeal of sport; that being the uncertainty of outcome.”

“It is in the wider public interest for gambling regulators and the industry to spend time and resource on combatting the corruption of sport by participants for betting purposes."

The investigation took place in May with a subsequent hearing taking place on October 17 which saw Mr McKinstry admit to fixing his April 30 bout against David Evans.

Mr McKinstry denied fixing an aspect of his May 2 match with Wessel Nijman as well as his charge of failing to cooperate with the DRA by not producing his itemised phone billing.

But the Committee found all three of the charges against Mr McKinstry proven, banning him from the sport for a total of eight and a half years.

The Northern Irish international was also ordered to pay costs of £4730.

Mr McKinstry's ban, backdated to his initial suspension date of 18 August, will run until 17 August 2028.

Nigel Mawer, the DRA Chairman, said: “This shows that any player found guilty of match fixing at any level of the sport will be caught and will face a lengthy ban.”

“The specific suspension for failing to produce itemised phone billing is welcomed, as the requirement for co-operation from Players is an important part of any DRA investigation.”

Sports betting integrity work is a key part of the Gibraltar Gambling Division's role, with particular regulators having developed expertise in this area.

During lockdown, the Gambling Division, which normally handle reports relating to football and tennis, registered an increase in reports on minority sports or "friendly" matches.

There was also a rise in reports on E-sports.

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