Monday 14. December, 2015

Victorian Government Warns Against Corruption in Sports

The Victorian Government has warned that local sports leagues are at risk of corruption and match fixing because of the rise of illegal offshore operators and the impact they have on the local gambling industry. The warning was issued as part of the government’s submission to the Barry O’Farrell-led federal government review into online gambling and the impact of offshore operators.

In the last decade there has been a significant increase in the amount wagered and lost on sports betting within Victoria. In 2004-05, Victorians lost $24 million from a $180 million turnover; while in 2013-14, this figure had risen steeply to $213 million lost on a turnover of $1.3 billion.

According to state regulations, bookmakers are required to come to agreements with sports controlling bodies in order to offer markets on their sporting events. However, only ten sports controlling bodies are registered in Victoria. The government believes there are a significant number of offshore bookmakers who are offering markets on Victorian sporting events.

This issue has been growing in the last decade. In 2012, it was revealed by Fairfax Media that local and offshore online bookmakers were offering odds on country and suburban soccer and football games. Some of the clubs and leagues revealed that they had no betting policies in place. The following year, a match fixing ring was exposed in the Victorian Premier League with offshore syndicates fixing games in Australia.

In addition to the integrity of sports, offshore bookmakers also impact the revenue of sub-elite and community sports.

“Unlike professional sports, sub-elite and community sports are less likely to benefit from partnerships with authorised WSPs [Wagering Service Providers], the funding from which enables larger sports to fund integrity units/resources to address the risks that come with betting markets,” stated the government’s submission.

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