The latest in a long line of Australian sporting scandals surrounding spot betting has led to calls for “exotic bets” to be banned altogether. Last week saw another couple of cases, the most serious of which saw Heath Shaw banned for eight weeks and fined $20,000 for placing a bet on his own team captain. It came as another Collingwood teammate, Tyson Goldsack, was cleared after his mother had placed a bet. It’s all become too much from one of the regular opponents of any types of gambling.
Enter Nick Xenophon.
The Aussie MP told ABC Local Radio that the Australia Football League (AFL) should move to ban these type of bets, starting off saying, “The information that I have been getting is that what we are seeing is the tip of the iceberg.
“That [what] we are seeing [is] an all-pervasive culture in gambling, that you are seeing friends and relatives being tipped off about certain games, about certain events in games, and that really concerns me.
“When you have something like exotic betting, ball-by-ball betting, so-called micro-betting, that really does give macro opportunities for corruption. I think if the AFL is serious about this, if it wants to show leadership, it needs to say no more ball-by-ball betting.”
Although on the other side of the coin, you have the fact that driving it out of the sport may force the practice underground. AFL operations manager Adrian Anderson pushed this point home, saying, “That would be one of the worst things we could do for the integrity of the game, because it would result in those bets being pushed underground.”
It’s true that something needs to be done about the practice. Tougher penalties for players would be a much better way to tackle it than an outright ban though.