Thursday, June 16, 2011

Sport bosses want veto on spot betting

Posted June 8, 2011 17:05:00

Australia's seven major sports want to be able to veto types of spot betting, with Federal Sports Minister Mark Arbib on board and urging his state counterparts to follow suit.

The state sports ministers will meet on the Gold Coast on Friday to consider a proposal which would greatly increase the criminal penalties for corruption in sport.

The NRL, AFL and Cricket Australia are among those to push for the power to ban spot betting, while they have also joined calls for 10-year jail sentences for gambling-related corruption.

Spot betting, where gamblers place wagers on sometimes relatively incidental elements of games such as no-balls in cricket or corner kicks in soccer, is considered the area of sports gambling most susceptible to corruption.

The problem was highlighted by the scandal involving three Pakistani cricketers on last year's tour of England.

Mr Arbib says it is vital there is a national approach to what is a growing problem in sport.

"There must be national consistent laws in relation to criminality; that is something I am urging all states to sign up to at the state sports ministers conference on Friday," he said.

"We must have in place integrity agreements between sports and the betting agencies."

Sports gambling in Australia, worth $2.8 billion in 2008, is a major growth industry, although there have been relatively few cases of corruption to date.

"Even the perception that something could be wrong is enough to undermine a sport's public credibility," Cricket Australia chief James Sutherland said.

The veto proposal was contained in an Anti-Corruption Working Paper endorsed on Wednesday by the Coalition of Major Professional and Participation Sports (COMPPS), which represents rugby (union and league), cricket, AFL, soccer, tennis and netball.

The paper, brought together by former International Cricket Council (ICC) chief Malcolm Speed, had three main proposals.

These included calls for severe penalties for the offence of "cheating in connection with sports wagering" and a requirement that betting providers hand over details of suspicious betting patterns.

The sports also want betting companies to pay a fee for using their "intellectual property rights".

"The recommendations detailed in the working party paper set out to preserve the integrity of Australian sport and stem from a desire from professional sports to stamp out betting related corruption," Sutherland said.

"They are individual and collective actions designed to minimise opportunities for corruption and arm sports governing bodies with the ability to deal with corruption effectively if and when it affects Australian sport."

Gambling is becoming increasingly linked with Australian sport as TV broadcasts exhort viewers to bet on events and odds are displayed on perimeter advertising.

Some of the bodies represented by COMPPS also generate revenue from gambling through sponsorship by betting companies.

"The answer that the sports give to that, and I think it's a good one, is that one of the key aspects is intelligence - to get an early warning," Speed said back in March.

"The best way of doing that is for the betting agencies and the sports to be on the same page so that if there are suspicious betting patterns, they can report that to the sports and the police.

"So it's good they have a close relationship. Whether it needs to be as close as it is, in terms of sponsorship, I think that's the issue they face."


Tags: sport, australian-football-league, cricket, netball, rugby-league, nrl, rugby-union, football, aleague, tennis, super-14, australia

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