Friday, 26 August 2011

SportsAlive? Not any more!

Sad news today of an Australian sports bookmaker going bust. The Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) website shows that liquidators have been appointed for SportsAlive.

Should SportsAlive have adhered to their licensing conditions, specifically the one below, then all should be fine for punters. However, it sounds like a few guys have been slow paid for a while (this year's not the first time they've had cash flow problems) so it may be that one of them got fed up with it and called in the lawyers. Staff apparently hadn't been paid for a fortnight either.


4. Segregated Bank Accounts
4.1 A sports bookmaker must, for the purposes of the sports bookmaking
business, maintain a segregated sports betting bank account for the
purpose of betting monies received.


For full details of the ACT legislation, where SportsAlive were licensed, click here.

This is a critical test of the strength of Australian bookmaking regulations. Hopefully it won't be long before all punters are paid out in full.


Betfair customers in Australia used SportsAlive for their fixed-odds multiples on Aus sports. No liability is on Betfair as their client funds were always separate, but whether their reputation by association takes a hit is another matter.

Sports Alive previously traded as Sports Acumen and Global SportsBet before various ownership and name changes.


Update - 3pm:

Apparently the business was worth $20m and had made profits of $4-5m over the past two years. That doesn't correlate to the fact they were slow-paying punters late last year as well...

Pair hit as Sports Alive dies

MICK Malthouse's manager, Peter Sidwell, will be one of the biggest losers from the collapse of corporate betting shop Sports Alive.

Sidwell is one of a number of private investors, also including well-known Warrnambool bookmaker Gary Walsh, anxiously awaiting a report from a liquidator appointed to Sports Alive late on Thursday.

The Herald Sun learned Mr Walsh stands to lose more than $500,000 and Mr Sidwell at least as much. Mr Sidwell did not return calls from the Herald Sun and Mr Walsh did not comment.

Tasmania's TAB - Tote Tasmania - has lost a $5 million investment for a 25 per cent share in Sports Alive.

Punters also stand to lose hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Although the company's licence with the Australian Capital Territory Government required a security bond of $250,000, that amount is expected to fall well short of what is owed to account holders.



Considering the number of UK bookies sniffing around Australian operators over the last few years, the situation must have been desperate if none were prepared to purchase this firm. It was rumoured that 888Sport looked at a joint venture a few years ago but it didn't go ahead due to 888's gaming ventures and conflict with Australian law.

9 comments:

  1. Unbelievable!
    i have been an avid user of sportsalive.com since they entered the market as sportsacumen back in 2005/2006.
    As fate would have it i generally dont bet large sums on this site due to lack of funds. In the last 2 weeks i have had a miracle run on spread betting turning $180 in to $10,200! On Monday 22/08 I decided to withdraw these winnings - to date i have not received a single dollar.
    Considering my bank to bank withdraw was 'pending' on 22/08 and the company entered liquidation on 26/08 what are my chances of receiving any of my winnings???
    the irony is i have never had such a good run in 4-5 years since using the site until last week - you can imagine how this makes me sick to my stomach...

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  2. Not wanting to doubt your story Marc but I thought they stopped offering spread markets a few months ago?

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  3. re getting your money back, rumours I hear are that the security bond ($250k) will cover no more than half the client balances. It's assumed, but not confirmed, that they have broken the regulations about ringfenced client balances which will really put the heat on the ACT govt for having lax monitoring.

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  4. Hi Scott,
    I hear that the ACT government audited the books in June and reported they were ok in July so I hope the money is still there in August ???

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  5. The plot thickens, Eddy Groves of ABC child care bankrupt fame was once a part owner of sports alive

    http://www.crikey.com.au/2009/02/12/d-e-and-f-eddy-groves-other-business-interests/

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  6. Same story I heard. Did they use the same auditors that looked at Enron's books? I know that traditionally SportsAlive have been very much a winter sports (ARL/NRL/union) shop, so cash flow out of season has been a problem in the past. So if it's a problem now, they have absolutely copped a beating from punters....

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  7. I think i may have misused the term 'spread betting" Scott. My winnings were made from multi-bets or as sportsalive called them "parlay fourfold, fivefold, sixfold etc". By betting on a diverse range of sports i thought i was "spread betting". Terminology correct or not, I made and withdrew several thousand dollars that I am yet to receive. Appreciate your input, hopefully you did not get burnt yourself?

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  8. ah, fair enough. Spread betting refers to different things to different people, the most common uses for it are handicaps in the US, and index betting in the UK. Didn't have much in there thankfully, hadn't used them much since they dropped spread betting on tennis.

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  9. Strong word, Young Tom might step in and take the joint over.

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