AUSSIE SPORTS BETTING UNDER PRESSURE
08th February, 2013 at 01:15:39
Punters have to be sure that they are wagering on fair games
Australian sports betting, already reeling under revelations of doping among top Aussie sportsmen, took another blow Thursday when the national police warned of significant match-fixing risks due to large Asian betting pools, citing A$40 million in wagers on one local soccer match alone.
The Reuters news agency reports that Australia's top criminal intelligence body, the Australian Crime Commission, said that organised crime had a growing influence over Australian sport and that the widespread use of performance enhancing drugs increased the risks of match-fixing, with one as yet unidentified match already under investigation.
Officials from the Australian Rules football organisation (AFL), and the Football Federation of Australia (FFA), which controls soccer, immediately issued statements saying that to the best of their knowledge there were no investigations underway involving their sports.
However, the FFA said it was trying to identify the 2012 soccer match which attracted the $40 million Asian in bets alleged by the police.
Police in the state of Victoria have expressed concerns that the increasingly large bets from Asia have increased the risks of soccer match-fixing in Australia's A-League.
"We had over A$40 million just with one Asian bookmaker alone, one of the legal bookmakers, on one A-League match here in Victoria," Police Assistant Commissioner Graham Ashton said on Thursday. "Certainly we think soccer is a big risk, cricket is another and tennis.
"When this betting is occurring to that level it becomes attractive for crime figures to want to get involved to fix matches. It is really a significant risk factor when you see these pools build up to that extent."
Ashton said the biggest risk was on spot fixing, where gamblers can bet on incidents during a game, rather than fixing the results of an entire game.
Australian bookmakers Sportsbet and Tattsbet on Friday suspended betting on Australian rules team Essendon, which Reuters reports has been embroiled in a scandal over players taking potentially illicit performance supplements.
The club has asked the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority to investigate the supplements given to players last season.
Some anti-gambling politicians were quick off the mark in commenting on the latest developments, urging that sports betting be banned, or at least suspended pending the outcome of a thorough enquiry.
Earlier this week the police in Europe exposed a global football betting scam, involving a Singapore-based syndicate which had directed match-fixing for at least 380 soccer games in Europe alone, making at least Euro 8 million. Some 680 suspicious matches, including qualifying games for the World Cup and European Championships, and the Champions League, were identified in an inquiry by European police forces.
Related News Tags: Bookmakers, Europe, Expo, Asia, Australia