What Australia could learn from the UK

What Australia could learn from the UK

Thursday, November 19, 2015
Barry O’Farrell's review panel will report back before the end of 2015

ESSA has hailed the UK’s model of gambling regulation in its deposition to the Australian gambling review.

In a document seen by TotallyGaming.com, the sports betting integrity organisation said that the UK Gambling Commission’s regulatory structure, cross-sector partnership working and evidence-based approach to policy making on integrity issues “represents one of the more advanced, fair and effective betting frameworks currently in operation”.

ESSA submitted its evidence to the review, led by former New South Wales premier Barry O’Farrell, which is examining the economic impacts of the illegal offshore wagering industry, international regulatory regimes that may work in Australia, and technological and legislative options to mitigate the costs of illegal offshore wagering. It is due to report its recommendations before the end of the year.

“The UK Gambling Commission has also established important information sharing agreements with a range of parties, including ESSA, which allow it to benefit from betting integrity data from markets outside of its licensing structure, recognising that this is a transnational issue,” the ESSA document read.

“Importantly, it engages with stakeholders in an open and transparent manner, employing an evidence-based approach. Along with ESSA, it is one of the few bodies (and only regulatory authority) to regularly publish betting integrity statistics covering its licensed operators.”

The review, announced by Social Services Minister Scott Morrison in September, will also assess existing legislation and investigate the effectiveness of existing consumer protection mechanisms, information resources, public information campaigns and other regulatory and non-regulatory measures.

ESSA questioned the impact of restricting in-play betting by suggesting that suspicious betting was generally observed in the high liquidity of the main betting markets which relate to the final outcome of a match - with only 0.4 per cent in side markets.

ESSA also said that suspicious betting thrives in sports in which governance and player education is poor, citing the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association (WPBSA) as examples of good practice.

ESSA added: “Whilst the sports sector claims that betting creates risks for them, it should be noted that corrupt sports personnel and poor sports governance actually creates increased risk and associated regulatory costs for betting operators, who are often the focus of sports fraud. 

“Betting related match-fixing is fundamentally the product of corrupt sports people either alone, or colluding with criminal elements, to unfairly manipulate sporting events to financially defraud betting operators (regulated or unregulated) and their consumers.”

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