Home > Casino & games > Social gaming > IBIA calls for online live betting in Australia

IBIA calls for online live betting in Australia

| By Daniel O'Boyle
The International Betting Integrity Association (IBIA) has called for online in-play betting in Australia, claiming the lack of legal live wagering contributes to "stubbornly high" levels of offshore activity.

The International Betting Integrity Association (IBIA) has called for online in-play betting in Australia, claiming the lack of legal live wagering contributes to “stubbornly high” levels of offshore activity.

Its call came as part of the IBIA’s response to a consultation on the Australian Sports Wagering Scheme (ASWS), a planned national framework to uphold sporting integrity in the market.

The response follows the publication of a discussion paper on sports integrity in Australia including a series of questions from the Sports Integrity Taskforce, under the Department of Health's control. This discussion paper itself followed the Wood Review, a report on integrity in Australian sport published in 2018.

The suggestions in the discussion paper included creating a new regulatory body,  Sport Integrity Australia (SIA), that would oversee the licensing of sports wagering providers as well as integrity issues across all sports on a federal level.

Under another suggestion, Sport Integrity Australia would create a real-time national platform that would allow the SIA to access to wagering providers’ source data. In the government’s response to the Wood Review, it said integrity bodies should be able to “nationally suspend wagering markets where significant risk of match-fixing is identified.”

However, the Sports Integrity Taskforce said it has “yet to be decided” if this will be a feature of the national platform.

Among the Wood Review’s 52 recommendations was that online in-play wagering be permitted in Australia. Currently, live bets may only be placed at retail venues or via telephone.

The IBIA said it was very disappointed that two years later, online in-play betting is still not available. This, it said, may encourage match-fixing by promoting unregulated operators who are less likely to report suspicious activity.

“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.”

In addition, the IBIA said that the decision to bring a range of sports integrity functions all under the control of a single body was not necessary given the current framework was “already deemed to be effective” and said the change could limit the ability of states and territories to set their own integrity provisions.

The IBIA also said that a clear policy for racing was notably absent in the ASWS, which created a major problem given the importance of racing to the Australian betting industry.

“Racing makes up a large part of the betting industry and, if the Government is to assess and promote a national betting and integrity policy framework, that sport must surely form a central part of any related considerations and recommendations,” it said.

FInally, the IBIA said that product fees operators must pay to Australian racing and sporting bodies for the rights to run books on their products also make it more difficult for regulated sportsbooks to keep pace with unlicensed competition. These fees are typically set at around 2.5% of turnover, or between 20% and 30% of gross gaming revenue (GGR), hindering efforts to compete against offshore competitors.

The consultation ran until 17 July. The Sports Integrity Taskforce will now produce a final regulatory impact statement in late 2020, and the changes included in the ASWS are set to come into force from July 2021.

Subscribe to the iGaming newsletter