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Match-fixing and corruption in sport
integrity is absolutely nothing, it's worthless.
This chapter will cover match-fixing and corruption in sport. It will
provide an overview of recent Australian and international sports betting
scandals; survey international approaches to the problem of match-fixing in
professional sport; and outline Australia's recently announced National Policy
on Match-Fixing in Sport. The chapter will also examine legislative measures to
address match-fixing and corruption in sport, including recent work by the New
South Wales (NSW) Law Reform Commission and the recent Victorian review of
sports betting regulation.
Match-fixing has been defined by Australian Sports Ministers as
...the manipulation of an outcome or contingency by
competitors, teams, sports agents, support staff, referees and officials and
venue staff. Such conduct includes:
(a) the deliberate fixing of the result of a contest, or of
an occurrence within the contest, or of a points spread;
(b) deliberate underperformance;
(c) withdrawal (tanking);
(d) an official's deliberate misapplication of the rules of
(e) interference with the play or playing surfaces by venue
(f) abuse of insider information to support a bet placed by
any of the above or placed by a gambler who has recruited such people to
manipulate an outcome or contingency.
Betting scandals and the risk of
corruption in Australian sport
Match-fixing and corruption in Australian sport are not perceived to be
widespread problems. Appearing before the committee, Mr Malcolm Speed, the
Executive Director of the Coalition of Major Professional and Participation Sports
(COMPPS) observed that:
...Australian sports have a very good record in relation to
betting related corruption. There have been very few instances in Australia. We
need to go back to the Waugh-Warne issue in 1994. As we move forward, there
have been very few instances that have come to the notice of the courts—although,
as you are no doubt aware, there is an issue in relation to the National Rugby
League that is currently before the courts.
Australian Sports Ministers recently released a National Policy on
Match-Fixing in Sport which will be discussed in further detail later in this
chapter. The preface to the policy stated that:
All Australians expect that the sport they watch or
participate in is played honestly and to the ideals of fair play and good
sportsmanship. Match-fixing and the corruption that flows from it, is not
limited to professional or high profile sporting codes. Match-fixing has
occurred in smaller sports, in lower grade team competitions and in individual
Match-fixing in sport is often motivated by the opportunity
for significant financial or other personal gain through the manipulation of
the result. Sports betting agencies provide opportunity for high sums to be
gambled on sporting events with the prospect of very high returns. These
potentially high returns can provide strong incentives to influence results of
While it is recognised that betting is a legitimate pursuit,
illegal or fraudulent betting is not. Fraudulent betting on sport and the
associated match-fixing is an emerging and critical issue globally, for sport,
the betting industry and governments alike. It has the potential to undermine
public confidence in the integrity of sport, sporting events and the products
offered by betting agencies. Left unchecked, this corruption will devalue the
integrity of sport and diminish the acceptability and effectiveness of sport as
a tool to develop and support many aspects of our society.
Recent high-profile sports betting scandals, such as those involving National
Rugby League (NRL) and Australian Football League (AFL) players and officials,
have raised concerns that such activity could severely damage the integrity of sport.
Although players and club officials in major Australian sports are forbidden
from betting on matches in their own codes of sport, the recent football
betting scandals suggest this ban may not be entirely effective.
In 2011, the AFL and NRL have both been forced to follow up unusual betting
trends with police laying charges in the NRL case.
Other examples are also included below.
Ryan Tandy, a former Storm and Bulldogs player, has been caught up in a match-fixing
scandal which has led to four charges and an investigation by the NSW Crime
Commission. He pleaded not guilty to a charge of attempting to manipulate the
first scoring points of a match between the Canterbury Bulldogs and the North
Queensland Cowboys in August 2010. An unusual betting plunge was observed by
authorities on wagers that the first points of the match would be scored from a
Cowboys penalty goal.
In October 2011, Tandy was found guilty of attempting to gain financial
advantage for others for the sum of $113,345 from Tabcorp. He was placed on a
12-month good behaviour bond and fined $4,000.
Essendon assistant coach Dean Wallis was recently suspended from duties
until mid-2012 due to gambling breaches of the AFL's code of conduct and fined
Exotic betting plunges involving Brisbane and Hawthorn players are also
currently being investigated by the AFL.
Collingwood player Heath Shaw was banned for eight weeks and fined
$20,000 for a $10 bet on captain Nick Maxwell to kick the first goal in a match
against Adelaide. Nick Maxwell himself was fined $10,000 after telling family
members that he would start in the forward line in the same match. His family
members then placed bets on him kicking the first goal.
In 1994, Australian test cricketers Mark Waugh and Shane Warne agreed to
take money from an Indian bookmaker for information about pitch and weather
This incident, which only came to light in 1998, is well-remembered as
Australia has very rarely experienced corruption in cricket by domestic players.
Nor has racing been immune from betting scandals. A recent investigation
on the ABC's 7.30 uncovered a corruption scandal among harness racing
The Australian Racing Board's submission to the inquiry acknowledged that the
racing industry has long had to grapple with integrity risks due to its close
association with wagering:
The impact of gambling on the integrity of sports is
something that horse racing has been dealing with virtually since it began, and
the Australian thoroughbred racing industry has an internationally recognised
reputation for the approach it has developed to managing the integrity risks
associated with gambling on its events. Nevertheless, changes in the Australian
wagering landscape have presented fresh challenges for the racing industry in
this area. For other sports the potential for gambling to influence integrity
is a newer problem and one that will increase hand in hand with the growth in
scale of sports wagering.
Greyhound Racing Victoria also recently sacked three employees for
placing bets. They included a full-time steward, a part-time steward and a
grader, who under the sport's code of conduct were all prohibited from placing
bets. The employees were understood to be betting large sums—more than $1,000.
International match-fixing and corruption scandals
As international match-fixing and corruption cases in European and Asian
sporting leagues are brought to light, the risk to Australian sport is becoming
Some recent examples of corruption in international sport include:
- Italy, with the arrest of 16 people in May 2011, on suspicion of
match-fixing to gain benefits in betting, following a November 2010 incident in
a Lega Pro third division football match between Cremonese and Paganese, where
several players were allegedly fed sedatives;
- Austria, where tennis player Daniel Koellerer was banned for life
in June 2011 for match-fixing; and Serbia, where tennis player David Savic was
also banned for life by the international Tennis Integrity Unit for
match-fixing in October 2011;
- the South Korean football K-League, where a number of players and
bookmakers have been charged in relation to bribery;
- Hungary, where several football players and referees have been
arrested as part of a match-fixing investigation; and
- Germany, where six people have been sentenced for fixing football
matches involving Switzerland, Belgium and Turkey following inquiries into the
operation of a betting syndicate.
A recent high profile match-fixing scandal involved three Pakistani test
cricket players who, in February 2011, were banned from playing for lengthy
periods by the Anti-Corruption Tribunal of the International Cricket Council
for conspiring with bookmakers to participate in spot-fixing. In November 2011,
the players, including the former captain, Salman Butt, were found guilty of
conspiracy to cheat and to accept corrupt payments after deliberately bowling
no-balls during a test match between England and Pakistan. The three players
received custodial sentences ranging from 30 months to six months. Their agent
was also sentenced to two years and eight months jail.
Dr Declan Hill, an investigative journalist specialising in match-fixing
and corruption in international sports, made a submission to the inquiry which
warned that the threat posed by modern match-fixing was more serious than ever
...there has always been fixing and corruption in sport. You
can go to the site of the ancient Olympics, built in 776 B.C. Outside that stadium were a whole
collection of statues and shrines to the Gods. They were built with the fines
levied on athletes and coaches who were caught cheating or fixing at the games.
So corruption has had a long history in sport, back at least two-thousand
eight-hundred years and that type of corruption will be with us for as long we
continue to hold competitive sports. It is simply a part of human nature.
However, we of this generation - are facing something almost
entirely new. It is a new form of match-fixing as if someone has taken fixing
and injected it with steroids. It is an utterly modern phenomenon and it will
destroy sport as we know them. People speak about other issues in sports -
youth in sports, disabilities, fair access, etc - but this new form of
corruption will, like a Tsunami, sweep aside all these other issues in sports
and leave our sports dead and destroyed.
Dr Hill's submission described the 'vast, powerful' Asian sports
gambling market, estimated to be worth $450 billion (compared with the Asian
pharmaceutical industry of roughly $100 billion):
What has happened is that this vast, illegal gambling market
has corrupted sport across the continent of Asia. I do not want to exaggerate.
There are a few Asian sports leagues which are corruption-free. I think
Japanese soccer is one, but it is an exception. The fixing in Japanese Sumo
wrestling is so bad and so ritualized that it has even been featured in an
academic article by the American economists Levitt and Duggan. The Taiwanese
baseball league has had so many scandals linked to gambling match-fixing it has
now been reduced to only four teams. Much of Asian sport is drenched in
corruption. There is so much corruption in sport there, that to an outsider the
stories just seem extraordinary, but here are a few examples:
The Chinese soccer league is a national disgrace Those are
the words of Chinese Premier Hu Jintao, who declared in the fall of 2009, that
there was so much match-fixing and corruption in their soccer league that it
embarrassed China. We see the same circumstances in the soccer leagues across
the region: Vietnam, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, Malaysia
and Singapore have all faced similar scandals in their own leagues. In
Malaysia, the corruption was so bad that a cabinet minister there estimated
that seventy percent of the matches in their leagues were corrupted.
He also warned of the dangerous influence that the illegal Asian
gambling league was exerting on other countries' sports:
...the punters...are switching their bets from the local
soccer leagues, with all the corruption in them, to other leagues around the
world, including the Australian. They
are betting on all measures of matches from the big, prestigious Champions
League all the way down to tiny games in second division Women’s Soccer in the
Netherlands. There are a number of companies organizing monitors who go to
matches across the world. They send people to the sidelines of these games
where they stand with their mobile phones or laptops reporting back to the
illegal gambling market in Shanghai or Johor Bahru or Manila.
Dr Hill's 2008 book, The Fix: Soccer and Organised Crime, provides
further insight into the extent of sports gambling in Asia:
The things that can be bet on in the Asian gambling
syndicates are a testimony to the human imagination: four-digit number rackets,
horse races, cockfights, boxing matches, basketball games, Formula One racing,
hockey competitions, cricket tournaments, pre-Olympic events. In soccer alone
you can bet on which team will win, by how much, who scores first, who scores
last, who will get the first yellow card, who will get a red card, how many
yellow cards will be shown, when the first goal will be scored, when the last
goal will be scored, the total number of goals, how many headers there will be
in the match, how many offsides, corners, and free kicks. The most popular
structure of bet, however, is the Asian Handicap, which is like the North
American idea of the point spread, where the favourite to win in the gambling
market has to win the match by a certain number of goals.
He also noted that match-fixing can never be understood as an exact
...a match-fixing performance is also, at least partly,
opportunity based. In other words, finely laid plans are all very well in
theory, but in the reality of a game, players simply have to take the
opportunity to fix when it comes.
The Fix describes in detail how the age of the internet has
diminished the 'information asymmetry' between gambling markets in different parts
of the world, thereby making fixing activity even more difficult to detect:
There used to be massive discrepancies between the Asian and
European gambling markets. Information that almost every bettor knew in Europe
was largely unknown in Asia. Ten years ago in the early days of the internet
revolution, vast amounts of money could be made in this information gap.
Gamblers call it "arbitrage", and there are some bettors who still
specialize in playing the odds off between different bookmakers on either side
of the planet. But now they have to be quick; it is rare that one bookmaker
will be out of line with the worldwide betting odds for longer than ten
This is the public argument that gambling companies make:
that because of the internet there is no longer anywhere in the world where a
fixer can work without being detected. Any bookmaker who takes a vast amount of
money on one side from a fixer will quickly realize there is something wrong.
There are even companies that specialize in scanning the gambling market for
any shifts that may be caused by fixing.
He warns that 'the fixers are not stupid' and argues that the internet
facilitates the flow of money through the illegal gambling market:
In the pre-internet days, it was sometimes difficult for a
fixer to get enough money into the gambling market to make the fix worthwhile.
They had to hire "beards" and "runners" — people who could
put their money on without seeming to be connected with the fixers. Now with a
click of the mouse the fixer can place bets with a half-dozen bookmakers around
the world, and with a few elementary precautions, no one is the wiser.
Two, while a bookmaker or an "early warning system" can tell that the odds may have shifted in the illegal Asian market on a
particular game, they cannot tell how much money has gone into the fix.
So if an Asian fixer has bribed the underdog team to lose — so the stronger
team will win — the fix is virtually undetectable. The odds will change, but
all are just going the way of the team everyone expects to win anyway.
Most importantly, when a fixer fixes the gambling market, it
is actually more difficult to do it in a small league like Belgium. Even
carefully hiding their bets, there is so little money placed on these games
that it is difficult to get a lot of money on to the fix. But ironically, the
bigger the game, the easier it is for the fixers to fix the market. When there
is a lot of money being bet, the fixers can get a lot on the fixed team. If
they are discreet and fix the weaker team to lose, then no bookmakers, no
matter how carefully they study the market, will notice the fix.
International approaches to match-fixing
and corruption in sport
Governments around the world are enacting legislation to curb criminal
activities in sport. South Africa was the first country to enact federal
legislation against match-fixing, followed by the UK and France.
International sporting bodies are also strengthening efforts to crack down on
illegal betting activity in cooperation with gambling providers.
Australian Sports Ministers have noted that:
At the international level, there is increased focus on
cross-border collaboration, with an emerging push for an international
information-sharing, monitoring, investigation and enforcement agency.
Australia is actively working with other like-minded nations to ensure that
international measures are developed and put in place that further safeguard Australian
sport from international criminal activity.
Recently, a series of international conferences have focused on the need
to target match-fixing and preserve the integrity of sporting contests,
including the International Olympic Committee meeting on Irregular and Illegal
Sports Betting, and the Sports Funding, Sponsoring and Sports Betting Congress,
both of which were held in March 2011.
In May 2011, the Federation Internationale de Football Association
(FIFA) announced a 20 million euro plan over ten years to fund an
anti-corruption training and prevention unit, based in Singapore, and to create
an international betting integrity investigation task force. In 2007, FIFA
established a company known as the Early Warning System Gmbh [sic] to detect
suspicious betting activity surrounding football matches. A Betting Fraud
Detection System was also set up to monitor football betting across Europe.
The European Sports Security Association, established in 2005, shares
and monitors information on irregular betting patterns and possible misuse of
inside information among its members (including European online sports betting
agencies). In April 2011, a Sports Betting Integrity Education Program was
jointly launched by the World and European Lotteries Association and
SportAccord (a body of international sporting federations).
The UK has recently tightened its laws on bribery and corruption and is
now said to have one of the strictest anti-corruption and bribery regimes
worldwide. The new Bribery Act came into force from 1 July 2011. Offenders face
up to 10 years' jail and companies and individuals may be subject to unlimited
Commentators have noted that the new law is open to interpretation and
has implications for offering corporate hospitality at premier sporting events.
Any corporate hospitality offered with the aim of influencing the recipient to
act in a manner contrary to his/her duties is a bribe. The Act's guidelines do not
specify what would constitute a breach and it appears that giving a ticket to a
sporting event where the giver is not present would be a breach of the law. Implicit
in UK Bribery Act is the need for accurate bookkeeping by both the donor and
recipient of corporate hospitality.
National Policy on Match-Fixing in Sport
On 10 June 2011, Australia's Sport and Recreation Ministers announced a
National Policy on Match-Fixing in Sport. The Commonwealth Minister for Sport,
Senator the Hon Mark Arbib, stated that all governments were 'presenting a
unified front against the scourge of match-fixing'.
The ministers' communiqué stated that 'match-fixing and corruption in
sport has emerged as the critical issue facing Australian and international
The key features of the policy are:
- agreement to pursue nationally consistent legislative
legal arrangements and integrity agreements between sports and
betting companies which will include requirements to share information, provide
sports with a right to veto bet types and provide a financial return from
sports betting to sports;
- the adoption of codes of conduct by sports;
the establishment of a National Integrity of Sport Unit to
oversee national arrangements and provide support for smaller sports; and
- that government funding will be contingent on sport implementing
appropriate anti-match-fixing and anti-corruption policies and practices.
The communiqué also stated that a cross-jurisdictional working group would
develop a detailed implementation plan for sports ministers to consider by
September 2011. This would include an assessment of the readiness of sporting
organisations and the betting industry to pursue requirements under the new
On 30 September 2011, sports ministers reported progress on the National
Policy with a legislative and administrative framework being taken to Cabinets
to give effect to a number of key elements of the policy.
Attorneys-General have also begun work on nationally consistent
legislative arrangements to tackle match-fixing.
Further discussion of legislative approaches is covered later in this chapter.
Describing the agreed reforms in the Parliament, Senator Arbib stated:
The issues of match fixing and illegal and irregular gambling
are growing day by day internationally. From Interpol, we have been alerted
that the illegal gambling market is now worth $140 billion. At home we have
seen incidents of match fixing and there are cases currently before the
It is important that all Australian sports lovers have
confidence that our sports are being played fairly and that all our players are
giving their best. Our athletes also deserve to know, whether they are
competing here or overseas, that they are competing on a level and fair playing
field. Cheating and corruption in sport erodes people's confidence in sport. It
strikes at the very heart of sport.
The Australian Crime Commission (ACC) briefed sports ministers on the
impact of organised crime internationally and the potential impact on the
Australian economy and Australian sport. Senator Arbib stated that the ACC had
advised sports ministers:
...that currently in Australia its concern was for individual
athletes and sports, rather than the sports industry as a whole. But as betting
volumes increase, sport is vulnerable to organised crime, to launder money and
conceal illegal activity.
A World Anti-Doping Authority briefing to member countries, including
Australia, had warned of 'increasing involvement of crime syndicates moving
cash from doping to match-fixing'.
Senator Arbib also noted that the government was working overseas with
the International Olympic Committee as part of an international working group
Ministers stated that the policy will 'provide the basis for Australia to
actively participate in international reforms to achieve similar international
Legal arrangements and integrity
agreements between sports and betting agencies
A key feature of the new National Policy on Match-Fixing includes the establishment
of legal arrangements and integrity agreements between sports and betting
This includes the designation and registration of a 'Sport Controlling
Body' for each sport or competition under the appropriate regulator in a
jurisdiction. The Controlling Body will deal with betting agencies, licensed in
any state or territory, on behalf of their sports, and will register all events
subject to betting with the relevant regulator.
Each Sport Controlling Body will be expected to:
(a) adopt an anti-match-fixing/anti-corruption code of
conduct which aligns with nationally agreed principles...
(b) apply the code of conduct to all players, player agents,
support personnel, officials and staff;
(c) apply a disciplinary framework within the code of conduct
including sanctions and appropriate investigative processes with minimum and
(d) develop and enter into national integrity agreements with
betting organisations in relation to the provision of betting and information
sharing on the sport involved by July 2012;
(e) provide appropriate information to betting agencies to
support preventative and investigative measures in a timely manner;
(f) provide appropriate education of players, player agents,
support personnel, officials and staff on their responsibilities under the code
of conduct and to provide information on match-fixing to assist with
prevention, detection and disciplinary actions in accordance with this policy;
(g) liaise with and report to the relevant government
agencies including the oversighting/coordinating agency; and
(h) provide and exchange information on suspected
match-fixing or corrupt activities with the over-sighting/coordinating agency,
betting agencies, and law enforcement agencies.
Governments have agreed that to establish these arrangements,
legislation (or binding agreement pursuant to legislation) must include:
(a) requirements that a sporting organisation must apply to
the appropriate regulator for approval as the Sport Controlling Body for a
sports betting event;
(b) requirements that a betting agency must not offer a
betting service on an event unless:
i. an agreement is in effect
between the registered Sport Controlling Body and the betting agency; or
ii. a determination of the
appropriate regulator is in effect for the betting agency to offer a betting
service on the event;
(c) requirements for betting agencies to obtain agreement
from the sporting organisation on all bet types offered on the sport involved,
including what level of competition bets may [be] offered on (for example,
minor leagues versus premier leagues), with sports having the ability to veto
bet types; and
(d) arrangements for financial return to the sport based on
betting on that particular sport.
Response of sports betting
In parliament, Senator Arbib stated that the Sports Ministers' new
national policy was being supported by sports betting providers who 'understand
the threat to sport in the long term and to the domestic and international
processes they have in place'.
The National Policy states that betting agencies will be asked to:
(a) adopt an industry standard for information exchange and
information provision requirements with sports, governments and law enforcement
agencies by July 2012;
(b) develop and enter into national integrity agreements with
sporting organisations in relation to the provision of betting and information
sharing on the sport involved by July 2012;
(c) guarantee confidentiality of information provided by
sports to the betting agencies;
(d) collaborate with sports and law enforcement agencies and
the appropriate regulator on the provision of information to assist detection
and investigation of suspicious activity or breaches of the relevant code of
conduct for that sport; and
(e) provide a share of revenue to implement this policy,
including to sports.
In its submission to the inquiry, Betfair stated its support for
additional regulation addressing integrity issues such as match-fixing and the
sale of 'price-sensitive' information:
Pursuant to Memoranda of Understandings with sports and
racing bodies, Betfair has a disclosure obligation if any players or officials
are placing bets on events they are associated with. Betfair has brought such
situations to the attention of a number of Australian sporting organisations.
Financial return from sports
betting to sports
The importance of wagering and betting operators providing a fair
financial return to the sports was raised by a number of submitters to the
Harness Racing Australia argued that sports have not properly pursued, nor
been adequately resourced, to address the current lack of financial return from
In cases where there have been suspect betting transactions
concerning a particular sport, too often the controlling body has been ill
equipped to investigate and ultimately address the incident. In some instances,
the sport has had to rely on the police and the criminal law to investigate and
prosecute the matter. This has often been a costly and protracted exercise
which damages the sport, its participants, the punters and the betting product.
The Australian Racing Board noted that sports needed an 'equitable
entitlement' to share in revenues from gambling conducted on their events:
In this regard the Schadelmose Report recognised that “sports
bets are a form of commercial exploitation of sporting competitions” and
lent support to the notion that sports receive rights fees from gambling.
In light of Sports Ministers' commitment to ensure that a financial
return from betting companies is channelled back into sport, Betfair's
submission noted that it had already:
...voluntarily entered into Product Fee agreements with all
of the major sporting bodies in Australia including the AFL, NRL, ARU, FFA,
Tennis Australia, Cricket Australia and the PGA Tour of Australasia. Betfair
has agreed to provide the sporting bodies with a percentage of revenue earned
from betting on their sports. Betfair firmly believes that sporting bodies are
entitled to a share of the wagering revenue derived from their sport.
Right to veto bet types
The National Policy proposes that betting agencies will need to obtain
agreement from a sporting code on all bet types offered on the sport. Gambling
regulators in states and territories will need to approve events, competitions
and bet types.
Such arrangements are already in place for the AFL and NRL.
For example, in June 2011, the NRL and betting agencies took action to exclude
certain forms of exotic bets, specifically bets on the first scoring play of
the second half of an NRL match, the last scoring play in the second half, and
whether or not there will be a field goal in the game.
Earlier in 2011, the AFL banned bets being placed on whether a coach would be
dismissed before the end of the season.
Sporting bodies and associations who made submissions to the inquiry
supported the right to veto bet types. These included Netball Australia and Tennis
In Victoria, this power has already been provided to sporting
organisations which have the 'capacity to control the specific types of bets
that are offered on their sports, and control the incidence of spot or exotic
The Coalition of Major Professional and Participation Sports (COMPPS)
also supported the 'power of veto over types of spot-bets that may be offered
by betting operators on their sports where they have serious integrity concerns
over the type of bet that is being offered.'
The Australian Racing Board also supported such an approach:
A broader issue is that of what controls might be put in
place to control inappropriate betting contingencies. That is to say, there are
some events which for reasons of integrity of the sport, privacy, or
offensiveness should not be allowed to form the basis of wagering. Each of
these might be seen as aspects of what the public interest might require so far
as some bet types are concerned.
For example, in the case of racing the practice has recently
emerged of bets being taken on the margin by which a horse will win a race. The
Stewards who police the Australian Rules of Racing believe that regulating the
integrity of racing events will be made more difficult if margin betting is
allowed to occur. Accordingly, we believe that racing, and other sports, should
have the capacity to determine whether contingencies related to them are
appropriate subjects for wagering.
Chapter 14 will also cover the right to veto bet types in the context of
a discussion about exotic betting.
Codes of conduct in each sport
Another feature of the National Policy is the requirement for sports to
implement minimum code of conduct standards:
...that will restrict players, player agents, support
personnel, official and staff from, inter alia, betting, gambling or entering
into any other form of financial speculation on any match or on any event
connected with the relevant sport.
All COMPPS member sports already have in place existing codes of conduct
to address such activities.
Governments and sporting bodies have agreed that the codes of conduct
must restrict players, player agents, support personnel, officials and staff,
directly or indirectly, engaging in the following conduct:
(a) betting, gambling or entering into any other form of
financial speculation on any match or on any event connected with the sport
(b) inducing or encouraging any other person to bet, gamble
or enter into any other form of financial speculation on any match or event or
to offer the facility for such bets to be placed on the sport involved;
(c) 'tanking' (including, in particular, owing to an
arrangement relating to betting on the outcome of any match or event) other
than for legitimate tactical reasons in line within the rules of the respective
(d) inducing or encouraging any player to 'tank' (including,
in particular, owing to an arrangement relating to betting on the outcome of
any match or event) other than for legitimate tactical reasons within the rules
of the respective sport;
(e) for money, benefit or other reward (whether for the
player him or herself or any other person and whether financial or otherwise),
providing insider information that is considered to be information not publicly
known such as team or its members configuration (including, without limitation,
the team's actual or likely composition, the form of individual players or
tactics) other than in connection with bona fide media interviews and
(f) any other form of corrupt conduct in relation to any
match or event connected with the respective sport;
(g) failing to promptly disclose to the sporting
organisations or Sport Controlling Bodies that he or she has received an
approach from another person to engage in conduct such as that described in
paragraphs (a) - (f) above;
(h) failing to promptly disclose to the sporting
organisations or Sport Controlling Bodies that he or she knows or reasonably
suspects that any current or former player or official or any other person has
engaged in conduct, or been approached to engage in conduct, such as that
described in paragraphs (a) - (f) above;
(i) failing to promptly disclose to the sporting
organisations or Sport Controlling Bodies that he or she has received, or is
aware or reasonably suspects that another player or official or any other
person has received, actual or implied threats of any nature in relation to
past or proposed conduct such as that described in paragraphs (a) - (f) above;
conduct that relates directly or indirectly to any of the conduct
described in paragraphs (a) - (i) above and is prejudicial to the interests of
the sport or which bring him or her or the sport into disrepute.
The National Policy notes that sporting organisations and controlling
bodies will be responsible for determining appropriate responses to breaches of
codes of conduct 'acknowledging that penalties should be broadly consistent
across sporting codes and reflect the severity of the breach'.
National Integrity of Sport Unit
Ministers also announced the establishment of a National Integrity of
Sport Unit to provide resources for smaller sporting codes to meet the
requirements of the new national provisions. The functions associated with this
new unit will include:
(a) supporting and as required, reviewing information sharing
and monitoring protocols to expand networks between governments, sports,
betting industry and law enforcement agencies;
(b) supporting the development of industry capacity to ensure
the integrity of sport in all sporting codes including practical and financial
support for smaller sports where necessary;
(c) ensuring sports have the capacity either internally or
through an independent body, to undertake investigations into betting
(d) monitoring compliance of stakeholders in relation to the
application of the National Code of Conduct principles;
(e) facilitating the adoption of National Code of Conduct
principles by all sports;
(f) resolving disputes as appropriate over issues of
concern arising from the implementation of the national policy;
(g) developing protocols for sanctions by sports and referral
of criminal activity to law enforcement agencies; and
(h) supporting international efforts to combat corruption in
sport through information sharing arrangements.
Dr Hill praised this new unit but believed the cost of such a body
should be met by the gambling companies.
Legislative measures to address match-fixing
The National Policy on Match-Fixing in Sport includes a commitment
across jurisdictions to pursue nationally consistent legislative arrangements
to address match-fixing:
All Australian governments agree to pursue, through
Attorneys-General, a consistent approach to criminal offences, including
legislation by relevant jurisdictions, in relation to match-fixing that
provides an effective deterrent and sufficient penalties to reflect the
seriousness of offences. Governments note the approach to implementation of
such provisions may vary in jurisdictions depending on existing legislative
In NSW and Victoria, significant work has been undertaken on legislative
measures to address match-fixing. Both states' work has been favourably
received, both within Australia and internationally, and is being endorsed as a
model for nationally consistent legislation.
Cheating at Gambling – NSW Law
In August 2011, the NSW Law Reform Commission (LRC) released its report
called Cheating at Gambling. The Commission stated its support for the
preservation of a 'safe and lawful' sports betting market in Australia:
We are convinced, in the light of the incidence of
match-fixing internationally, and the failure of any prohibition model (for
example, those in the US, India, Pakistan, and in several other Asian
countries) to prevent its occurrence, that there is an imperative to preserve a
safe and lawful market for sports and event betting. It is essential that such
a market be transparent and subject to appropriate supervision by regulatory
authorities, with the assistance of sports controlling bodies and betting
agencies. It is equally essential, in our view, that there be appropriate
criminal offences available to cater for those cases where cheating or other
forms of corruption, including abuse of inside information, occur, and that
there be means available to guard against sports betting being used for money
The NSW Government foreshadowed the LRC's report in its submission to
The LRC consultation paper notes that preliminary submissions
are supportive of the introduction of a sports and event gambling specific
offence, that would strengthen existing anti-cheating laws, that would be clear
and easy to understand and apply, and that would carry an appropriate criminal
sanction. The paper does highlight, however, a range of issues that would need
to be addressed in relation to the creation of a specific offence. For example,
the kinds of conduct it should capture and how it can be formulated so as to
catch every person who is knowingly engaged in any co-ordinated cheating
Noting that the criminal law has not kept up to date with fraud in
relation to cheating at sports betting, the LRC's final report proposed two new
sets of sports specific offences:
The first set of offences cover conduct by anybody (including
players, match officials and team support people) that “corrupts the betting
outcome of an event” with the intention of obtaining a financial advantage from
The conduct of a person “corrupts a betting outcome” if it
affects or would be likely to affect the outcome of a bet, and is contrary to
the standards of integrity expected by reasonable people.
This covers, for example, spot and match fixing, deliberate
underperformance, tanking, disrupting or interfering with the course of the
event, and deliberately officiating in a dishonest way. It extends to anybody
who fixes the event, or agrees to do so, or persuades another to do so, and
also to conduct designed to conceal the existence of any such arrangement.
The second set of offences cover using inside information in
connection with a sporting event to bet on that event, as well as providing
inside information to someone else to enable them to bet on the event.
In both cases, the Commission proposes a maximum penalty of
10 years imprisonment, the same penalty as for fraud, recognising the
seriousness of activity that can involve the corruption of sporting activities
in aid of betting.
In proposing the new offences, the LRC's report also notes that criminal
offences are a necessary 'safety net' and that betting agencies and sporting
authorities must also take responsibility to prevent corrupt behaviour:
...to deter and punish those who do engage in cheating at
gambling in its several forms. Of equal if not more importance, in a practical
sense, however, is the need for sports controlling agencies, and for gaming and
betting agencies and authorities, to adopt appropriate systems, through codes
of conduct, educational programs, and the like, to discourage misconduct in
this area, and to provide an effective means of detecting and dealing with it.
'Corrupting the betting outcome of
The LRC explains that the phrase on which the new offence is based is
intended to cover activity such as:
- deliberately under-performing or failing to employ best efforts
in the running of, or officiating in respect of, an event;
- withdrawing from an event without proper cause;
- improperly fixing or manipulating the outcome of an event or of a
- otherwise improperly interfering with or disrupting the normal
course of an event.
'Offence of using inside
information about an event for betting purposes'
This offence provision is aimed at those who abuse 'inside information',
which is intended to cover non-public information such as:
- any injury to a player;
- player selection and team composition;
- the likely performance of a team or participant;
- tactics to be employed by a team or participant;
the existence of any agreement or arrangement or conduct that may
corrupt a betting outcome of the event, for example, knowledge of the
blackmailing of a sporting participant, or
of the existence of an agreement to fix the event; or
- [a] matter that is subject to confidentiality restrictions under
a code of conduct, or contract, entered into by a person who might be regarded
as an insider.
10 year penalty
The LRC argued that a 10 year maximum penalty for corrupting betting
outcomes was appropriate:
By reason of the seriously fraudulent nature of the conduct
involved, its consequences for a potentially wide group of people, and the need
for a strong deterrent, we consider that the offences proposed should each
carry a maximum penalty, that is in line with that which is available for the
general fraud offence under s 192E of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW), namely
imprisonment for 10 years.
The NSW Government is yet to respond to the LRC's report. Responses from
submitters to NSW's work in the context of the National Policy on Match-Fixing
in Sport are included in chapter 16 under discussion of the match-fixing
amendments proposed as part of the Interactive Gambling and Broadcasting
Amendment (Online Transactions and Other Measures) Bill 2011.
Victorian Gaming and Racing
Legislation Amendment (Sports Betting) Act 2007
In 2007, Victoria passed the Gaming and Racing Legislation Amendment
(Sports Betting) Act. This is currently Australia's only sports betting
It was designed to ensure that sports receive a financial
benefit from the betting that takes place on their events and that they have
the capacity to ensure that the integrity risks created by betting are
appropriately managed. It gave sports controlling bodies the capacity to require
wagering service providers to enter into agreements that make provision for the
fees, if any, to be paid by the betting provider for the use of the sport’s
product and for sharing information that can be used to identify suspicious
The National Policy on Match-Fixing, announced in June 2011, will build
nationally consistent legislative arrangements on Victoria's existing work in
Major professional sports in the UK have also commended the Victorian Act as
model legislation on sports betting regulation.
COMPPS strongly supported the legislation, stating that its enactment
had 'strengthened the sports' ability to monitor integrity issues and enabled
sports to receive a small percentage of revenue from sports betting on their
COMPPS' Anti-Corruption Report recommended that the provisions of the
Victorian Act be adopted in all states and territories so that:
...all events on which sports-betting is available are
included and all betting providers are required to enter into Integrity and
Product Fee agreements with sports to provide details of relevant information
including suspicious betting activity and to pay a product fee.
It recommended that nationally consistent criminal
legislation, specific to sport, creating an offence of “cheating in connection
with sports wagering” be adopted.
It recommended that each sport should be given the power to
prohibit certain types of exotic or unusual bets that present enhanced
It recommended that new regulation also address issues such
as minimum standards for all betting agencies in relation to record-keeping,
retention of data, disclosure of information to sporting bodies and reporting
of suspicious bets, among other things.
We understand that the major betting operators would welcome
dialogue in relation to these matters.
Our preference is that these legislative reforms are enacted
through Federal rather than State and Territory legislation.
Victoria's legislation was reviewed in March 2011 by Mr Des Gleeson,
former Racing Victoria head steward.
The review found that the legislation had 'one major deficiency':
...namely the lack of provision for ongoing monitoring by the
regulator. Information provided to the review suggests that the level of
integrity assurance being undertaken by the sports controlling bodies varies.
While some sports controlling bodies were able to demonstrate proactive and
robust integrity procedures aimed at ensuring no breaches of codes of conduct,
including education programs for participants, others appeared less diligent,
with integrity processes only coming in to play after a breach had occurred.
Whilst the VCGR [Victorian Commission for Gambling Regulation] considers
whether a sporting body has adequate policies, rules, codes of conduct and
other mechanisms designed to ensure integrity at the time of determining
whether to approve an application for sports controlling body status, there is
currently no provision for monitoring of adherence to such policies.
As well as an amendment to the Act to ensure the VCGR has a proper
monitoring role to ensure that sporting bodies are applying their integrity
policies and processes, the review's 14 recommendations included proposals for
enhanced integrity assurance and legislative amendments such as the following:
That the sports controlling bodies, either through COMPPS or
some other mechanism, consider developing a model code of conduct and
guidelines for the conduct of education programs that would act as a minimum
standard for all sports...
That the sports controlling bodies be encouraged to negotiate
agreements that include the power to ban betting on contingencies that raise
reasonable integrity concerns...
That, in the event other Australian jurisdictions move to
introduce sports betting legislation, Victoria grants reciprocal rights to
out-of-state approved sports controlling bodies and encourages other
jurisdictions to do likewise...
Under 'matters requiring national action', the review also recommended:
That the Minister for Gaming place the issue of mirror sports
betting legislation on the agenda of the COAG Select Council on Gambling Reform
or other appropriate national forum.
That the Minister place the issue of retention and supply of
betting information by sport betting providers on the agenda of the COAG Select
Council on Gambling Reform or other appropriate national forum.
That the Minister place the issue of amending the Interactive
Gambling Act 2001 to remove the ban on internet betting ‘in the run’ on the
agenda of the COAG Select Council on Gambling Reform or other appropriate
The Victorian Government responded to the review's findings in August
2011 and supported all recommendations, noting the work already underway as
part of the National Policy on Match-Fixing, as well as the Commonwealth's
review of the Interactive Gambling Act 2001.
Interactive Gambling and
Broadcasting Amendment (Online Transactions and Other Measures) Bill 2011
The bill introduced by Senator Xenophon contains provisions in relation
to match-fixing. It will be considered separately in chapter 16.
Federal or nationally consistent
The question of whether the legislative approaches outlined above should
be enacted federally, or whether they should be left to states and territories,
attracted a diversity of views.
The NSW LRC also posed the question in relation to its new offence
provisions proposed to address corruption in sport:
An important consideration, in the Australian context, is
whether the response to the problem requires the introduction, by each State
and Territory, of a uniform criminal offence, or whether it should be left to
the Commonwealth to enact an appropriate provision, by way of amendment of the Criminal
The LRC's view was in favour of enactment of a uniform offence by each
state and territory:
...subject to the recognition that, if this does not occur,
then Commonwealth intervention will be required.
The reasons for preferring a State and Territory based
approach relate largely to the practicalities of investigation and enforcement,
which will depend on co-operation between betting providers, local sports
controlling bodies and State and Territory Police Forces.
Victoria's Gleeson Review of Sports Betting Regulation stated that its
most important finding was in relation to the need for a national approach and
As the only state with sports betting legislation, Victoria
can rightly regard itself as a leader in this area, but for the regulatory
regime to be fully effective, mirror legislation needs to be introduced by the
other states. If all states moved to introduce such legislation, this would ‘plug the gaps’ in the current regime by ensuring that sports are legally
entitled to receive product fees for games and matches played outside of
Victoria. The current situation, where sports controlling bodies have differing
ability to negotiate with sports betting providers depending on how many of
their games are played in Victoria, is unsatisfactory.
COMPPS also noted that the Victorian Act had limitations when observed
by Australian sporting codes which are played across many jurisdictions:
While this Act is a step in the right direction and has given
sports a framework in which to negotiate national arrangements with betting
operators, it only requires for the agreements to be in place for sports events
However, COMPPS' preference was for federal enactment of legislative
reforms (modelled on the Victorian legislation) over state-based approaches.
The Australian Internet Bookmakers Association (AIBA) questioned whether
Victoria's legislation should be adopted as a model for other states and
territories, arguing that betting agencies and sporting bodies have already made
national efforts that have gone beyond the Victorian requirements:
The Victorian sports betting legislation has been put forward
as a model for adoption by other States and Territories. In recognition of its
deficiencies and in support of the integrity objectives, internet bookmakers
and, subsequently other betting providers, negotiated agreements directly with
the sports. These agreements had national reach (i.e. covered all events
across the country), provided for the provision of information regarding
suspicious bet types and expressly gave the power of approval of the bet
types to the sports. In other words, the bookmakers and the sports jointly
developed a national scheme which was more effective and more advanced than
that provided by the Victorian sports betting legislation.
The AIBA then outlined the two alternative approaches to regulation:
The first is for a Federal role to be exercised by the
Federal government; the second is for greater coordination and cooperation
between the States and Territories in such areas as the approval of bet types.
For example, a simple mechanism for identifying bet types of concern is where
the sports, having exercised a determination to approve or disapprove a
particular bet type, notify all other State and Territory regulators (assuming
the local regulator has given approval). Should any particular State or
Territory have a significant concern over the propriety of the decision, it may
raise this with the particular sport and the regulator of the particular
betting provider. Any differences are therefore to be resolved by way of
discussions and agreement, rather than the pre-emptory
exercise of any purported regulatory power.
The committee welcomes the cooperative work being done at a national
level to advance the new National Policy on Match-Fixing. It also acknowledges
the comprehensive work that has been done in both NSW and Victoria to ensure
regulation keeps pace with developments in the modern sports betting
environment. The committee is supportive of the current work underway by Sports
Ministers and Attorneys-General to pursue nationally consistent legislative
measures to curb the threat of match-fixing in Australian sport. The committee urges
betting agencies and sporting bodies to continue to cooperate fully with the
work being done by governments in these important areas to safeguard the
integrity of Australian sport.
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