Australian sports give backing to online in-play betting

Australian sports give backing to online in-play betting

Wednesday, December 2, 2015 Totally Gaming
Major sports have suggested match-fixing is less likely if in-play becomes regulated

Australia’s major sports have called for an end to the prohibition of online in-play betting in order to preserve the integrity of their events.

In deposition to the government review, ‘Impact of Illegal Offshore Wagering’, the Coalition of Major Professional and Participation Sports (COMPPS) said the Interactive Gambling Act (IGA) created “anachronistic” in-play restrictions that have created an “integrity blind spot” in which match-fixers can flourish.

At present, companies that operate legally in Australia cannot offer in-play betting via the internet, meaning customers are forced to take part via telephone or retail channels. While companies do offer products that work around this law, such as William Hill’s Click to Call, which was recently ruled legal, critics would suggest that it is still easier for punters to bet in-play via illegal and unregulated offshore online operators.

COMPPS, whose seven members include the national bodies for Australian rules football, cricket, football, netball, rugby league, rugby union and tennis, said that the current situation “poses a relatively higher risk” to match integrity than if regulated operators could control some of the betting action currently headed outside the country.

While COMPPS has taken a line supported by the Australian Wagering Council trade group and sports integrity unit ESSA, not every submission to the committee has been in agreement with the opening up of the in-play market. 

Australia’s racing industry argued its submission that allowing online in-play wagering on sports could cost racing AUS$10m (€6.9m/$7.3m) per year. The Australian Hotels Association, whose members include pubs with betting outlets, has also urged the panel to maintain the status quo.

COMPPS’ members have been criticised by Senator Nick Xenophon, a prominent gambling opponent.

“I can’t believe the greed of our sporting codes when it comes to gambling,” he told reporters. “It’s not enough for them to get billions of dollars in revenue from various broadcasting rights, but they now are getting many tens of millions of dollars from online gambling companies.”

The ‘Impact of Illegal Offshore Wagering’ report is due to be published on December 18.

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