Australian operators hit back at tennis criticism

Australian operators hit back at tennis criticism

Wednesday, January 20, 2016 Totally Gaming
Novak Djokovic was among those to question tennis' relationship with betting

The trade group for betting operators in Australia has hit back after some of tennis’ biggest stars criticised the sector’s relationship with the sport and, in particular, the Australian Open Grand Slam event currently taking place in Melbourne.

The Australian Wagering Council (AWC), whose members include William Hill and other large international bookmakers, responded in the wake of allegations that match-fixing is rife in tennis, with a BBC and Buzzfeed report earlier this week contending that Grand Slam winners were among those suspected of involvement.

The Australian Open is the first major tennis event to have signed an official partnership with a gambling operator, with William Hill said to have paid Aus$5m (€3.2m/$3.4m) for the privilege last October.

With Hills logos at the Melbourne Park arena and commercials dominating coverage of the event in Australia, world No.1 Novak Djokovic was among those to question the relationship between tennis and betting.

Speaking to reporters on Monday, he said: “Well, this is a subject for discussion, I think, today and in the future. It's a fine line. Honestly it's on a borderline, I would say.

“Whether you want to have betting companies involved in the big tournaments in our sport or not, it's hard to say what's right and what's wrong.

“One of the reasons why tennis is a popular and clean sport is because it has always valued its integrity.”

The AWC said its members held strong integrity agreements with Tennis Australia, with customers' accounts audited to detect prohibited participants, including players, coaching staff and match officials.

A spokesperson added: “AWC members are committed to continuing to work collaboratively with sports control bodies and officials to encourage high standards of probity and integrity across all sporting codes.”

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