Bet365 is the latest company to be targeted by journalists at The Australian for offering wagering services to Aussie punters without the appropriate licenses. Following an earlier ‘sting’ type investigation that led to betting exchange Betdaq exiting the Aussie market, The Australian’s journos set up an online account with Bet365, then informed Australian Federal Police (AFP) that Bet365 was acting in violation of the Interactive Gambling Act, for which the company could face fines of up to $1.1m per day. The AFP’s response was essentially ‘well, duh…’, having been aware of Bet365’s activities since 2001, but have so far chosen to focus their limited crime-fighting resources on combating, you know, actual crimes.
Crimes like insider trading. Not the kind that sees hedge fund billionaires become trillionaires, mind you, but the kind that could have earned an Australian Football League player the astounding sum of (be sure to pronounce this like Austin Powers’ Dr. Evil)… one thousand dollars. Collingwood Magpie defender Heath Shaw has been suspended eight games and fined $20k for placing a $10 bet at 100-1 odds that team captain Nick Maxwell would kick the first goal in a match against Adelaide.
Maxwell himself has been fined $5k for telling family members in advance that he would be starting at forward rather than his usual defensive role in the Adelaide match. Without Maxwell’s knowledge, his family subsequently placed three bets for a total $85. As it turned out, Magpies’ forward John McCarthy scored the first goal on the day in question, meaning none of these illicit bets actually paid off.
Magpies president Eddie McGuire referred to Shaw’s decision to bet as something “ridiculously stupid that had embarrassed the football club.” As for Maxwell, his alleged stupidity stemmed from his failure to inform his family that the info regarding his temporary shift to forward was not to be used for betting purposes. While the AFL’s Adrian Anderson stressed that “nothing any player has done here has been with the intent to influence any outcome within the contest,” he nonetheless maintained that “the rules around inside information are fundamental to protect the integrity of our game.”
Yes, it’s just too bad the cost of this protection was a deluge of lurid headlines about match fixing, which will be the sum total of the info the average person takes away from this incident. And all because some idjits placed about a hundred bucks worth of wagers that failed to pay off. Score.