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Australian Open Nixes Courtside Gambling Ads

Australian Senator Welcomes Gambling Restrictions

Xenophon calls for end to all gambling sponsorship at Oz sporting events.

In another blow to Australian bookmakers, Tennis Australia has announced that it will not allow on-court signage by betting groups.

In 2015, a leading betting agency signed up to become the Australia Open's official betting partner. This led to wide-spread criticism regarding the deepening of ties between bookmakers and sports.

An executive for Tennis Australia, Richard Heaselgrave, confirmed that the bookmaker would not be allowed to display advertisements on the courts as they previously were.

"We have discussions with all our partners each year to amend their rights and benefits," noted Heaselgrave in an interview to BBC, adding that the bookmker would not have on-court signage for 2017.

Xenophon Praises Tennis Australia

Australia's most vocal anti-gambling lawmaker, Senator Nick Xenophon, said that he was optimistic about the decision taken by Tennis Australia. He called it a welcome step "provided there's no sting in the tale."

"Ultimately I want to see an end to all gambling sponsorship at sporting events because so many children are exposed to it," he added.

Xenophon was one of the first people to call for Tennis Australia to cut its "unprecedented ties" with the bookmaker when the sponsorship deal was signed in 2015.

Fears of Tennis Matchfixing

In recent years, evidence of suspected match fixing in tennis was revealed by undercover media investigators.

The BBC reported at the beginning of this year that 16 tennis players who ranked in the top 50, had been repeatedly flagged to the international Tennis Integrity Unit over suspicions that they had thrown matches.

In 2009, a new anti-corruption code was introduced by world tennis, although old corruption offences could not be pursued under the new code.

According to the European Sports Security Association, tennis attracts more suspicious gambling activity than any other sport.

The betting group that signed the sponsorship deal with Tennis Australia in 2015 has never been implicated in any of the match fixing allegations found in the sport.