Tuesday 19. January, 2016

Australian Open Rocked by Match-Fixing Allegations

UK bookmaker, William Hill has staved off criticism of its sponsorship deal with the Australian Open tennis and its gambling advertisements at the Melbourne Park events. William Hill became the first bookmaker to sponsor a Grand Slam tennis event after reportedly paying in the region of $5 million. They have experienced a significant surge in betting turnover since the event started on Monday.

William Hill recorded an 80 percent rise in betting turnover on the first day of the tournament and a close to 300 percent rise in their controversial live in-play betting feature.

With fresh allegations of match fixing in the sport, there is renewed criticism of in-play betting and the impact of gambling advertisements on young children and teenagers. Despite this, punters have turned to the online bookmaker in huge numbers with William Hill accepting 20,000 more bets on the first day of the tournament than in 2015, resulting in an 80 percent increase in year-on-year turnover and a 297 percent increase in in-play bets.

The allegations were refuted by the Australian Wagering Council which represents William Hill and other major international bookmakers, who said that the company holds strong integrity agreements with Tennis Australia and audits customers’ accounts to detect questionable activity.

“AWC members do not offer micro-betting – or ball to ball betting – on tennis fixtures,” said a spokesperson. “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.”

The controversy, particularly the criticism of in-play betting, is expected to put pressure on the Turnbull government to respond to the O’Farrell report into interactive gambling.

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