The Victorian government is pushing for national regulation of live in-play sports betting to protect its local sports leagues from match fixing and corruption.
In Australia, the regulation of gambling services is a matter for state governments. However, the federal 2001 Interactive Gambling Act (IGA) regulates interactive gambling services offered over the internet, regardless of where those services originate.
The Victorian government, in its submission to a federal review of IGA, calls for a national standard for online gambling. This way, the state and federal government can also develop integrity standards that can be applied to local sports.
“There is a lack of awareness of integrity risks amongst sub-elite and community-based sport in Victoria,” said the Victorian government.
Sports betting providers are prohibited from offering bets on Victorian sporting events without a written agreement from the relevant sports controlling body or a determination by the Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation (VCGLR). This legislation was implemented to reduce the potential corruption in sporting contests.
Victoria has 10 sports controlling bodies and most of them are major organizations such as the Australian Football League (AFL), National Rugby League (NRL), and Cricket Australia.
However, according to Victoria’s submission, sub-elite and community sports are less likely to benefit from sports betting. Larger sports collect license fees from bookmakers, which “enables the sports to fund integrity units/resources to address the risks that come with betting markets.”
The Australian government is reviewing its online gambling laws to combat the alleged impact of international online gambling companies offering services to Aussie punters. The IGA, for now, restricts betting on live sports to telephone or retail wagering outlets but some international gambling companies such as William Hill and Ladbrokes found a legal loophole to offer live betting online via voice-activated smartphone apps.
The Coalition of Major Professional and Participation Sports (COMPPS), which represents leading national sports bodies, has also urged the government to lift its ban on in-play betting to preserve the integrity of their product.