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20 May 2011

Australian Sports Betting Worries Sport Bosses, by Greg Tingle - 20th May 2011



The sports betting sector continues to be red hot political and legal potato in Australia, and it has many a sports boss worried, as well as administrators of Australia's Olympic body, with Aussie Olympic athletes being red the riot act. Media Man and Gambling911 get you up to speed with the latest in the Australian sports betting industry, which is already having international consequences...

Aussie Sports Bosses Worried About Sports Betting...

Think you know all there is about the politics and proposed laws re sports betting in Australia? Think again.

The money men - the top brass behind the elite sports codes in Australia just yesterday expressed their unease at the full on advertising delivered by enthusiastic promoter types in the betting agencies.

The money stream for the sporting codes has been a financial shot in the arm for pro sports, but many now question at what cost.

Most advertising budgets in Australia have slowed over the last few years, but not sorts betting, a close cousin to gambling.

Live betting - exotic betting - are the forms of sports betting which have the majority of sports code bosses very worried, and we all know there's been a few scandals with the "exotics", and we're not talking about casino babes or sports babes folks.

The prestigious Tattersall's CEO's Sports Luncheon was held yesterday with reps from the AFL, NRL, ARU, FFA and Cricket Australia going on record that they felt somewhat uneasy with the tactics being employed by gambling firms, despite the big bucks they made from the association with sports betting.

"I think I speak for all of us when I say some of that more aggressive 'bet now' advertising is concerning us," NRL boss David Gallop said. "We would prefer to see that in a less aggressive mode. But it's difficult when the media outlets are going to take that advertising anyway, so the sports need to be in control of it."

After demonstrating initial caution, the Australian Football League has embraced the gambling universe, even permitting teams to accept gambling organisations as jersey, sports and internet sports sponsors, as plugging live odds on the AFL website during matches and showing live match odds on the scoreboard during games as part of an agreement with Betfair.

AFL chief exec Andrew Demetriou said it was issue beyond sport. "If it's in your face at the football, it can be really off-putting," he said. "But let's not delude ourselves; don't just concentrate this on the sports. The newspapers are littered with advertising about sports betting. Let's look at issues across the board, not just in sport. We're genuinely trying to do the right thing. Once sports betting became deregulated … everyone became exposed to it, not just kids at the football."

Australian Rugby Union top dog John O'Neill stated the massive money being thrown around by gambling firms had inevitably bought them a slice of power.

"We certainly do express a view if it's in your face, it's over the top. But that's the level of influence [they now have]," he said. "There is a source of revenue there." Assurances that all professional sporting events are not tampered with by bookmakers - or that players, coaches or officials are not betting on outcomes - has added another layer to the complex relationship between sports and agencies.

Cricket Australia exec James Sutherland advised all sports had to retain their integrity to survive.

"The critical issue for us is that the success of sport is built on the connection between the fan and the sport. They need to know this is a real contest, this is the real thing," he said. "If there is any question or taint around that then the integrity and value of the sport is significantly downgraded. That's something we're very conscious of. We can't have corruption in our game."

Federal Sports Minister Mark Arbib has expressed his support for tougher match-fixing laws, and is due to meet his state counterparts next month.

Just when all the confusion will come to an end is anyone's bet.

Gambling continues to be one of the world's most successful industries and most popular pastimes, and Aussie gamblers - sports betters are some of the most popular in the world.

With the Aussie news media and internet push on it seems unlikely that sports betting offline or online are going to decline in popularity any time soon. All gambling sub sectors are generally on the increase with the public, and now it just seems that all regulations across the board need to get up to speed with the reality of internet sports betting. You can bet legal eagles will continue to be busy and media reports will continue to be pumped out, keeping punters, politicians and all other interested parties abreast of the latest news. What else is left to say than good punting, and bet with your head, not over it.


Australian Olympic Committee Says Illegal Sports Betting Biggest Risk...

Aussie Olympic athletes set to head off the Olympic Games in London next year will be required to obey new laws designed to stop illegal betting.

The Australian Olympic Committee annual general meeting was held yesterday.

Plenty of top brass was present including AOC president John Coates and the Federal Minister for Sport Mark Arbib. They are so worried they rate illegal betting as big a risk as doping in the 1980s and 1990s.

Coates wants a national sports betting authority independent of any sport and their official bodies and handed federal powers and resources.

In a curious tactic, the AOC's 2012 team membership agreement has also been tweaked to limit the prospect of a selected Aussie athlete betting on themselves or anyone else during the Games in London.

Coates is happy to punish offenders by "naming and shaming" them. Arbib said he supported a prop for jail sentences of up to a decade for anyone found guilty.

The illegal betting industry, Arbib said, is worth roughly $140 billion a year, and has now spread like wildfire globally. He thinks that the battle to combat illegal betting will need the co operation of governments, sporting federations and legal betting agencies if it is to be won.

Coates said that athletes who still did not fully comprehend what was at stake would certainly do so by the time they had put on their green and gold team colours and were on a flight to London. He advised athletes will all be fully briefed before the Games, and the changed clauses in their agreements will be outlined. "In our team membership agreements, we have always had clauses in there that prohibited involvement by our team members in betting on Olympic Games, on other athletes or themselves," Coates said after the meeting. "We are just making [it] more specific."

"We have added the references to prohibition to illegal and irregular gambling betting to our ethical behaviour by-laws … that will be in place, the athletes will be briefed on it. It will be made very clear to them that we will not tolerate any betting during the Olympic Games."

Coates also advised that punishment for an infraction would not only come from the AOC.
Senator Arbib didn't shy away from outlining how strong a stand he plans on taking.

"The NSW Law Reform Commission have talked about penalties for up to 10 years for match fixing. That is something I support," he said.

"This is a very serious crime and there are large sums of money involved internationally.
''We need to send a strong message to those people who are involved in match fixing [and] those people involved in illegal gambling that government will act.

"We will act together with the sports and the betting agencies and we are going to take the toughest stance possible."

Coates went thought a 7-point mandate for the national sports betting authority. He's hopeful that Prime Minister Julia Gillard will endorse it and see it become a reality.

Investigate cheating and fraudulent conduct with necessary powers to phone tap, subpoena and seize information and exemption from privacy legislation.

Undertake effective national liaison and information sharing with the Australian Federal Police, Australia Tax Office and other federal agencies, and the State and Territory police.

Undertake effective international liaison and information sharing with other governments, international sports bodies and agencies.

Establish a comprehensive code of conduct for all sporting bodies.

Establish guidelines for minimum and consistent penalties across sports at all levels and the means to ensure they are applied.

Record the names of offending athletes, officials, clubs and third parties of ill-repute on a public register, and undertake education of coaches and officials.

Folks, with list or will it come to pass and become written in law? Tipsters advise we may know in the coming weeks, and no, we are not taking bets on it before you ask, but feel free to check out other gaming and betting promotions right here.

Punters, er readers, stay glued to Media Man reports via Gambling911 for more "can't miss" information on Australian sports betting, pokies, gaming and casino wars.

*Greg Tingle is a special contributor for Gambling911

*Media Man http://www.mediamanint.com is primarily a media, publicity and internet portal development company. They cover a dozen industry sectors including gaming. Media Man also publishes Media Man News

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