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Australia’s NSW gives greater control of betting activity to sporting bodies

29th May 2014 9:53 am GMT

Australia’s New South Wales has passed new legislation which will allow sporting bodies greater powers to combat match-fixing in sport, with betting operators having to enter into integrity agreements with sports controlling bodies.

Troy Grant, NSW’s Minister for Hospitality, Gaming and Racing, said that the state’s Liberals and Nationals Government was determined to ensure that the integrity of its sports were protected.

“Our changes will ensure sporting bodies can determine what level and kind of bets they want to occur on their respective events and indeed whether betting should occur at all,” said Grant. “If a betting agency does not enter into an integrity agreement with the relevant sporting controlling body they will be unable to offer betting products on those events.”

In the NSW Legislative Council yesterday, Duncan Gay, NSW Minister for Roads and Freight and vice president of the Executive Council, said that the introduction of the Racing Administration Amendment (Sports Betting National Operational Model) Bill 2014 would regulate betting on sporting events in line with the National Policy on Match-Fixing in Sport agreed to by all Australian sports Ministers in June 2011.

As part of the national policy, the same Ministers agreed to a national operational model for sports betting in September 2011.

“This bill implements that operational model,” said Minister Gay. “The model augments new match-fixing penalties and offences introduced by the New South Wales Government in August 2012.”

A maximum penalty of 10 years imprisonment applies for anyone found to have engaged in or facilitated conduct that corrupts the outcome of an event.

The operational model regulates the interaction between sporting organisations, betting service providers, and relevant State and Territory regulators in relation to integrity agreements and baseline requirements for betting on sporting events.

It has been developed in consultation with State and Territory gambling regulators, a number of major betting service providers and major sporting organisations.

Under the model, sports controlling bodies also have a veto right on the type of betting that occurs, or whether any betting occurs at all, in respect of their sport.

“Importantly, this bill establishes a workable and appropriate framework to strengthen the capacity of sporting bodies to recognise and manage integrity risks associated with the betting that takes place on their sport,” said Minister Gay. “It also enables sporting bodies to receive a share of the revenues that accrue from approved betting, recognising both the value of the sporting product itself and the integrity-related costs incurred by sporting bodies as a direct result of evolving sports betting markets.

“These mechanisms will help to strengthen public confidence in the integrity of the sporting contests themselves, as well as the associated betting that occurs on these events.”

Betting service providers will have a six-month transition period within which to reach an integrity agreement with a newly approved sports controlling body. The maximum penalty for the offence is a fine of AUD$11,000 for a corporation, or a fine of $5,500 or 12 months imprisonment, or both, for an individual.

“The Government has already demonstrated its commitment to promoting a viable and successful racing industry through its successful race fields legislation,” continued the Minister. “The principle that betting service providers should pay for the privilege of using racing information as a platform for their business applies equally to sport.

“The measures in this bill uphold that principle and demonstrate a similar commitment to promoting the integrity and sustainable development of sport in this State.”

Stuart Ayres, NSW Minister for Sport and Recreation, said it was important to ensure honesty and integrity across all sporting codes, with the government committed to eliminating match-fixing and undesirable betting across all sporting codes.

“Sport and Recreation will establish a framework for determining which sporting bodies are appropriate for wagering activity,” he said in a statement. “This legislation helps to restore public confidence in the integrity of sport and betting and ensures the NSW Government’s commitment to promoting integrity in sport.”

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