Global Intelligence Service Launched

Ontario spearheads international intelligence service.

Press Release

An international intelligence service will allow global groups to quickly share information.

From London, Ontario to London, England, from the Thoroughbred's Melbourne Cup to the Standardbred's North American Cup - horse racing is truly an international sport -- and one of the most regulated sports in the world. Equine athletes are tested more than most human athletes.

While Ontario has rigid standards locally, illegitimate operators have crossed jurisdictional borders easily through the internet and negatively impacted the fairness of the sport. That will change significantly starting next month and it’s the same internet that will make it even tougher for cheaters to ply their illegal trade.

The International Racing Information and Intelligence Service (IRIIS) will officially launch July 1, and its origins started in Ontario. IRIIS is a secure internet platform that will allow international racing jurisdictions to share intelligence information, collaborate and capitalize on the industry’s expertise and best practices.

The Ontario Racing Commission and Harness Racing Australia, the key organizers of IRIIS, have collaborated with racing regulators and strategic partners from Canada, the United States, Belgium, Great Britain, South Africa and Sweden. It is anticipated other racing jurisdictions will join and contribute to the platform.

ORC Deputy Director Rob McKinney said that IRIIS is an innovative system where members – industry regulators, law enforcement agencies and industry organizations -- will have access to and share intelligence information on a wide range of topics, such as performance and image enhancing drugs like EPO, race fixing, and organized crime.

“We need to be proactive and one step ahead of illegal activity, so that we can prepare risk and threat assessments on a jurisdictional, regional and/or international level.”

Here’s a recent example of actionable intelligence which demonstrates how IRIIS works: Ontario shared the intelligence it had gathered with respect to a particular drug and its alleged performance enhancing benefit. The ORC information included recommendations on how to collect a sample and analyze the results. The data prompted another international
racing jurisdiction to conduct post-race tests for the same drug. The result: a positive test which led to regulatory action against the participant.

McKinney sees IRIIS as a tool to look to the future, not only of horse racing, but sports integrity in its entirety. He has long advocated for more sharing of intelligence information among all sporting entities.

“Our intelligence and information shows a connection between substances appearing in equine athletes and then in human athletes,” said McKinney. “This fact speaks to the value of sharing resources and building intelligence to ensure a high standard of integrity across all sports, international borders and jurisdictions. IRIIS has the potential to do that.”

In September 2012, the ORC signed an alliance agreement with the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport (CCES). The agreement formalized a relationship whereby both organizations would share information and resources of common interest to help build intelligence in the fight against unethical and illegal practices in Canadian sport.

“Fairness, equitable competition and the protection of the public interest are priorities embraced throughout the global sporting community. By sharing what we know with allied organizations, we can build a more effective force to break what we know as the cycle of abuse,” said McKinney.

The ORC, the agency responsible for the regulation of horse racing in the province of Ontario, has gained international recognition for its leadership role in developing new approaches to proactive investigation and regulation practices.

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