The International Betting Integrity Association (IBIA) has urged the government of Australia to withdraw in-play betting restrictions as a means to further protect its regulated sports betting market and consumers from black-market threats.
The IBIA made its statement as part of its response to an open consultation on the Australian Sports Wagering Scheme (ASWS) – Australia’s integrity framework protecting sports from corruption.
The consultation was launched to gather evidence as the Australian government reviews its federal sports integrity safeguards, with the potential launch of a new ‘Sport Integrity Australia (SIA)’ regulatory body being earmarked.
In its remit, the SIA will become the central data collection agency for all syndicated professional sports played across Australia and will act as an ‘integrity task force’ to monitor sports betting transactions.
The development of SIA was formally suggested as one of 52 recommendations outlined by the ‘2018 Wood Review’ on safeguarding Australian sports.
In its response, the IBIA stated its disappointment that the Australian government had not progressed on withdrawing in-play wagering restrictions, as recommended two-years ago by the Wood Review.
“It is particularly disappointing that the Government has not supported the Wood Review’s recommendation on in-play betting to properly address the integrity challenges presented by offshore betting, notably unregulated or poorly regulated Asian betting operators,” the IBIA said.
“The absence of an effective and coherent policy on in-play betting is detrimental to the regulated market.”
Further concerns saw IBIA state that the federal government had not established an ‘overriding argument’ for the introduction of SIA as Australian sports centralised agency.
The IBIA stated that certain sports, states and territory authorities remain ‘unconvinced about the necessity for large-scale change to the existing arrangements which are already deemed to be effective’.
In its recommendations, the IBIA added that the government can instantly strengthen its existing ASWS framework by including provisions for Australian racing, which have been omitted leading to a ‘sizeable hole in any Australian integrity policy’.
The IBIA concluded: “Whilst we therefore understand the Government’s aspiration to harmonise a wide range of powers currently made at state and territory level and to establish a universal approach across Australia, our discussions with industry stakeholders have been clear that, at this point, a departure from the existing and well-established approach is not seen as necessary or desirable.”