Australia: Real-time monitoring of sports betting to prevent match fixing looks set to be abandoned amid industry pushback

ABC Australia reports

A key recommendation of a 2018 independent review into sport integrity and online betting is set to be watered down after pushback from the gambling industry.

The Wood Review of Australia’s Sport Integrity Arrangements called for a “real-time wagering fraud detection and response capability”.

But a recent Regulatory Impact Statement into the proposed Australian Sports Wagering Scheme (ASWS) flagged the government was considering a non-real-time data platform.

The platform is designed so betting companies, sporting bodies and federal investigators can share information about bettors, for example allowing suspicious accounts to be matched across providers.

Betting companies have indicated any scheme would place a significant burden on their operations, and backed a non-real-time scheme.

It Is just one part of the pushback against the ASWS, the centrepiece of the 2018 Wood review.

The gambling industry says it supports the concept of an ASWS but is unconvinced by the government’s current argument for increased regulation.

James Duncan, general manager of external affairs at Responsible Wagering Australia — which counts the majority of sports betting companies in Australia as members — said the country already had strong integrity systems and the main problem was with overseas providers.

The ASWS is being overseen by Sport Integrity Australia, and almost $2 million was committed to its development in last year’s budget.

At the time, Sport Minister Richard Colbeck said the scheme would “bring together regulatory approaches across Commonwealth, state and territories jurisdictions to ensure there is a framework to protect the integrity of sport, and make Australian sporting competitions more resistant to ever-evolving manipulation tactics”.

A proposal has been developed in the intervening period, and plans have been shared with betting companies.

But one month shy of the fourth anniversary of the Wood review’s completion, there is no indication yet when the scheme will be delivered.

A spokesperson for Mr Colbeck said consultation was ongoing and no implementation date had been confirmed.

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