21st June 2018

South Australia to examine online betting’s impact on sports integrity

The South Australian Economic and Finance Committee is to examine the extent of online sports betting, and whether further regulation is needed to protect the integrity of sport. “Many betting agencies are opening up sports betting markets on local amateur sporting events, raising future match-fixing concerns in sports where players are not paid or paid very little”,  politician Stephen Mullighan told the Adelaide Advertiser. “A lot of young people, particularly men, are no longer watching sporting events purely for enjoyment but instead to bet and monitor their financial stake”.

As April’s Tennis Integrity Review Panel (TIRP) Report highlighted, sports is increasingly commercialising its data and when live match data from lower division or amateur games is sold on to gambling companies, a potential integrity risk can arise. This is because players and officials at the lower levels of sport are paid less, so are easier to corrupt, and also because there are less people watching, making a fix potentially easier to conceal.

An additional concern is the rise of sports gambling websites that accept only cryptocurrencies. Such forms of payment are the internet equivalent of cash, in that they often do not require a bank or payment account to use on the internet. 

As The Sports Integrity Initiative reported earlier this month, gambling sites that accept only Bitcoin are accepting bets on amateur sport. This could create an additional concern, in that payments made to stake bets may be harder to trace.

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