Wednesday May 23, 2012 : PROBE ON INTERNET SPORTS BETTING SITE FAILURE CONFIRMED
Australia Capital Territory’s Ombudsman confirms investigation into gambling authority
The gambling authority of the Australian Capital Territory is under investigation over its role in the multi-million dollar collapse of online betting enterprise Sports Alive last year, says the Canberra Times.
The ACT Ombudsman’s office has confirmed that it is looking at 13 complaints by punters left out of pocket and who want to take action against the ACT Gambling and Racing Commission, the newspaper reports.
Sports Alive, which was registered in the ACT, but operated from Melbourne, crashed owing more than A$10 million, including about A$327,000 to the ACT Revenue office.
The liquidators of the failed company say that A$3.9 million is still owing to more than 18,000 punters and the Ombudsman has been under pressure to investigate after allegations that the Gambling and Racing Commission failed in its duty to regulate the bookmaker properly.
The Commission has consistently claimed that it met its obligations and responsibilities in regulating the activities of Sports Alive, but punters have accused the regulatory body of failing to ensure Sports Alive maintained segregated bank accounts of betting monies, which is required by legalization.
Despite monthly audits claimed by the regulator, financial documents show Sports Alive was sinking into insolvency for almost three years before its eventual collapse.
The ACT Ombudsman’s office said it would not divulge the scope of the inquiry or its likely duration.
“Ombudsman investigations are conducted in private, so we will not comment on these questions,” the spokeswoman said.