Wednesday June 13, 2012 : POLITICS AND SPORTS BETTING DOWNUNDER
The Green Party in Australia in drive against online betting on club football
The burgeoning business of online betting on football, and the admission by several Australian football clubs that they did not have policies in place to handle gambling and possible corruption of the sport, has attracted the attention of the politicians Downunder.
The Age newspaper reports that the Green Party has launched an initiative to ban online betting on local football matches, justifying prohibition on grounds that sports will be corrupted.
Greens gambling spokesman Richard Di Natale, a former footballer himself, told The Age the party would use the recently released review of the Interactive Gambling Act to push for a ban on local football gambling.
”It's difficult enough for the AFL with its immense resources to pick up bets from players who stand to gain from insider knowledge, but suburban footy leagues stand little or no chance,” he told The Age.
The newspaper notes that Australia's biggest sports betting operator, TAB Sportsbet, has warned that if left unregulated, betting on suburban football presented a serious risk to the sport. The company takes bets on AFL and VFL matches, but not local games.
Company spokesman Craig Nugent said betting on competitions involving small clubs that had no processes in place to ensure the integrity of the sport was dangerous.
A spokeswoman for Sports Minister Kate Lundy said the government was committed to working collaboratively with sports to ensure online betting was regulated, and that there was appropriate protection to preserve the integrity of sport.
”This type of betting concerns the government and we will be looking into it further,” she said.
Federal Liberal MP Alan Tudge, who is a member of the coalition federal government's gambling taskforce, said the industry was moving so fast that codes and policies were struggling to keep up.
”At the very least, players or someone acting on their behalf shouldn't be allowed to place bets,” he opined.