The IBIA doesn’t think Australia takes sports integrity seriously


The International Betting Integrity Association (IBIA) feels that Australia could do more to create a better, safer sports gambling market. The country has existing guidelines designed to keep corruption and match-fixing out of sports, through the Australian Sports Wagering Scheme (ASWS), but the IBIA believes Australia could do a better job. It is making suggestions (in pdf) for ways to improve the framework, and it is now up to Aussie regulators to decide whether or not to accept the input.

The IBIA participated in an open call by gaming regulators in Australia to review the ASWS, which had been made so the government could receive feedback on its sports integrity initiatives. In response, the IBIA recommends the removal of in-play betting restrictions, which it asserts will help protect the legal sports gambling market and further push out black-market operators. Previous reports have indicated that the underground gambling market in the country is worth as much as AU$2 billion ($1.42 million).

Australian lawmakers and gaming regulators are considering the launch of a new regulatory body to oversee sports gambling, Sport Integrity Australia (SIA). It would be used as a centralized data collection agency for all of the country’s syndicated professional sports and would implement an integrity task force to monitor all sports wagers. The creation of SIA came as part of a large review of Australia’s sports gambling scene, the 2018 Wood Review, which recommended 52 changes to improve the industry.

As the name suggests, the 2018 Wood Review was presented two years ago, and the IBIA feels that Australia hasn’t done enough to implement the recommended changes. In providing its latest comments on the state of sports gambling integrity in the country, the IBIA asserts, “It is particularly disappointing that the Government has not supported the Wood Review’s recommendation on in-play betting to properly address the integrity challenges presented by offshore betting, notably unregulated or poorly regulated Asian betting operators. The absence of an effective and coherent policy on in-play betting is detrimental to the regulated market.”

The IBIA also believes that the SIA may not be necessary and wants the government to prove its value. It further suggests that Australia could immediately improve its existing gambling integrity framework by simply adding measures to address racing. The absence of regulations targeting in-country racing has led to a “sizeable hole in any Australian integrity policy,” according to the group. Following the complete revision of the ASWS, the IBIA found, “Whilst we therefore understand the Government’s aspiration to harmonise a wide range of powers currently made at state and territory level and to establish a universal approach across Australia, our discussions with industry stakeholders have been clear that, at this point, a departure from the existing and well-established approach is not seen as necessary or desirable.”