5/9/10 – Betfair’s man in Australia, Andrew Thwaites, once again made the local headlines this week with a call for a nationwide betting register.
Thwaites’s company partners the AFL, and his radical proposal suggests that all punters be compelled to gamble at TABs or with corporate bookmakers through traceable wagering accounts.
Thwaites was widely quoted in the Australian press as asserting that account betting was the only way sporting codes such as the AFL could ever properly follow the money trail in fighting corruption.
"With account-based betting you are able to provide absolute transparency to regulators, stewards and sporting officials when it comes to integrity management," Thwaites said.
"So we are able to tell the AFL or the RVL or the police, if necessary, exactly who has been putting the bets on, where they live and what their computer's IP address is — everything you can think of. It's an absolute fingerprint.
"You know who's betting and who's winning the money. You are never going to close all the doors, but if you can channel punters into a highly regulated environment it is the best way to protect the game,” said Thwaites.
On an international level, Betfair has in many cases alerted diverse sporting bodies to unusual betting patterns picked up on its sophisticated tracking software; the company has repeatedly made it known that it will not be a party to corruption in sport.
The Australian newspaper The Herald Sun reported that the Betfair recommendation comes on the heels of admissions from the AFL's second gambling partner, Tabcorp, that football figures can flout gambling bans by betting with cash at suburban TABs.
Banned bookie Simon Beasley told the Herald Sun the AFL was in "Noddy Land" if it believed it could stop players and officials from betting on football.
However, AFL chief Andrew Demetriou defended the present rules, which forbid officials and players of his body to bet on games.
"The actual proposition that we shouldn't outlaw betting on football by club officials, by players and by coaches has no currency whatsoever," he said. "The rules are very, very clear and we have seen what betting and gambling can do, how it can destroy a sport."
Last week the AFL caught six people in a forensic swoop involving 24 major betting agencies and bookmakers.