William Hill has demanded an Australian daily newspaper Herald Sun retract claims about its in-play betting services.
The Herald Sun published a report on Wednesday in which it claimed the Victorian government was criticizing the sponsorship deal between the Australian Open and UK bookmaker William Hill.
The news comes as allegations of match-fixing in tennis clouded the tournament. The daily newspaper reported that the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) received complaints about Hills’ in-play betting products in October and December. These complaints were reportedly handed to the Australian Federal Police (AFP).
William Hill denied the claims, calling the statements false and demanding a complete retraction of the Herald Sun’s front page.
“William Hill has received confirmation from the Australian Communications and Media Authority that they have not referred to the Australian Federal Police a complaint about William Hill’s in-play service on December 24, as referenced in the article,” said William Hill spokesman in a statement.
“We also note that no formal investigation has been undertaken by the Australian Federal Police, let alone any determination that the service is in breach of the law.”
Amid the allegations that match fixing is widespread at the top level of world tennis, critics said that William Hill’s sponsorship deal with the Australia Open represented a problematic deepening of ties between tennis and gambling.
Hills, which reportedly paid $5m to become the first bookmaker to partner with a Grand Slam tennis tournament, shrugged off criticism and said that the “close partnerships between regulated and licensed betting operators like William Hill and sporting bodies are part of the solution to integrity issues, not part of the problem.”
“We have comprehensive information sharing agreements to inform the sport’s integrity bodies, and for the sport to promote licensed operators is key to ensuring transparency,” said William Hill’s Group Director of Security and Community Bill South. “We are proud of our association with Tennis Australia and will continue to play our part in contributing to the integrity of tennis in conjunction with sports bodies and regulators.”
Despite the controversy, William Hill Australia reported an 80% surge in betting turnover on the first day of the 2016 tournament while in-play wagers increased nearly 300%.