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media and politicians love a beat-up

After a few attempted rorts in rugby league and a few plunges based on leaked team information, the major Australian sports, backed by a few clueless politicians and media desperate for a story, have proposed clampdowns on exotic bet types. Now we all hate match-fixing in sport, don't get me wrong there, but invariably these shenanigans are restricted to betting via illegal bookies, where there is no audit trail for investigators to pick up.

Legal betting outlets don't drop the ball very often. At the first sign of suspicious betting, alarm bells go off and word spreads like wildfire. The accounts in question are marked forever and the total exposure involved is usually only a few grand - less than they'll get out of the PR value of the ensuing story!


Andrew Twaits says tighter controls on online poker is necessary

*snipped*

Sportingbet Australia chief executive, Michael Sullivan, called yesterday on professional sports under the Coalition of Major Professional and Participation Sports umbrella to employ full-time supervisors to scrutinise betting trends. The AFL employs an integrity officer.

The coalition represents the AFL, ARU, NRL, Cricket Australia, FFA, Netball and Tennis.

"The NRL could take a leaf out of the AFL's book on this issue. They seem to be dragging the chain a little," Sullivan told The Australian.

"We've seen on the issue arising from the North Queensland investigation that the checks and balances we as an industry already have in place actually do work.

"As for the NRL asking for an industry-wide ban on exotic bets, that's fine, but our figures show that the average bet on the first and last tryscorer is just $9.

"That wouldn't buy you a schooner of beer in some pubs in Fremantle.

"Betting on cricket matches in this country isn't a problem. The trouble starts with the sheer weight of money bet on games in India and Pakistan where the industry is either illegal or nowhere near as regulated as you find it here in Australia.

"All we are asking for as a collective is a level playing field."



Common sense from Michael Sullivan there, however we are talking about Australia here, where the fun police think having a beachball or a trumpet at the cricket should get you kicked out of the ground and heaven help you if you wanted a full-strength beer at an evening sporting event.

Spot-fixing is very different to match-fixing from a legal viewpoint and the attitude of individuals towards it. The penalty for paying players to fix a match result (potentially 10yrs in gaol if Australian legislation goes ahead) does not correlate with encouraging everyone to throw the ball to the winger so he can score the first try for a few grand in the end-of-season trip fund.

Online betting firms have the audit trail required to track all the bets - most of the suspicious bets placed in the rugby league attempted stings have been in cash at TAB outlets. Sort that issue out and much of the problem disappears....

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