An article which appeared this week in The Age publication vehemently refutes claims by former Victorian Labor gaming ministry, Tony Robinson, that betting on sport is corrupting sport in Australia.
The author, Cormac Barry, chief executive officer of online bookmaker Sportsbet, came down hard on Robinson's claims and said that the opposite is true.
He said that bookmakers are also affected financially when sport is corrupted and "they play an active role in combating corruption by providing an audit trail for the detection of corrupt behavior."
According to the article, online gambling businesses have strong integrity agreements in place with Australian sports bodies and that suspicious betting behavior is detected via real-time monitoring and reported immediately to these authorities.
Bookies Prevent Corruption
In the op-ed published in The Age, Cormac Barry said that Australian sports authorities recognized the important role that bookmakers have in helping their fight against corruption. AFL chief executive, Gillon McLachlan was quoted as saying that the authority has "better relationships with wagering companies than not, because we get access to information so we can protect the integrity of our competition."
The author says that licensed bookies are forbidden to offer betting on major sports unless they are specifically approved by the sport's controlling body. In addition, bookies pay high fees to these authorities to fund integrity measures and help in the fight against sports corruption.
Also recognizing the importance of cooperation between sports authorities and bookmakers was the AFL's general counsel, Andrew Dillon who said recently: "In line with other professional sporting codes in Australia, the AFL has product fee and information sharing agreements with Australian betting agencies to ensure we have transparency regarding bets placed on our sport. Only by working with the agencies are we able to protect the integrity of our sport."
Corruption Affects Bookmakers Too
Barry makes a very legitimate point in his article, saying that Australian bookmakers also face a significant detriment to their businesses if integrity is compromised because consumers would lose faith in the contest.
Australian bookmakers continue to up the ante on action taken to help fight sports corruption and Barry says that Sportsbet is working with other providers to develop a code that will "complement the existing legislative, regulatory and industry self-regulatory framework, including the association's overarching code of ethics."