Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Australia addresses match-fixing in sports

AUS - Sports Ministers in Australia have taken a united stand against corruption in sports by signing an agreement to address match fixing in sports betting. 

New laws would make it compulsory for ‘sports organisations and betting companies to share information,’ and funding for sports organisations is going to be ‘contingent on sports implementing appropriate anti-match-fixing and anti-corruption practices,’ it was announced last week. 

The laws will be implemented at state-level and a new watchdog, the National Integrity of Sport Unit, is set ‘to oversee the national arrangements’, Federal Sports Minister Mark Arbib said in a statement. 

"This is an outstanding result for sport. I am pleased that all Australia’s governments are presenting a united front against the scourge of match-fixing," Senator Arbib explained. "Sport is vulnerable to organised crime, to launder money and conceal illegal activity. The most important thing for Australian sports lovers is to have confidence that our sports are played fairly and that all players are giving their best."

“[The deal] demonstrates a growing interest of the Federal Government to get involved in gambling,” concluded Bill Brown, partner at Landers & Rogers in Melbourne. And Cheng Lim, a partner at Mallesons Stephen Jaques, sees the agreement as “a positive first step in developing a national response,” which is needed since “the laws that regulate sports betting have not been able to keep apace with developments in the betting industry, particularly the growing popularity of online betting”, Lim said from his Melbourne office.

The agreement provides ‘sports with a right to veto bet types’, according to the Sports Minister's statement. Although no formal requirements are yet in place, “steps have already been taken to ban some ‘exotic’ in-play betting perceived to be prone to corruption within the sport,” said Jamie Nettleton, partner at the Sydney law firm Addisons.

Although the Interactive Gambling Act has banned most online gambling activities since 2001, online sports betting is legal in Australia, with many state-licensed betting companies in operation.

Michiel Willems, 2011. Published previously in a London based publication. Copyrights apply. Picture: Fridaymash.com