New South Wales match fixing reform Bill

by DLA Piper

The NSW Government has introduced a draft Bill in to Parliament to combat match fixing in sport.
The Racing Administration Amendment (Sports Betting National Operational Model) Bill 2014 aims to provide a framework in NSW for betting agencies to enter into integrity agreements with sports controlling bodies which will outline the measures used to prevent, investigate and assist in the prosecution of any match fixing or other corrupt behaviour related to the betting on the sport event. The Bill is expected to bring betting on sports events in NSW in line with the national policy on match-fixing in sport.

Increased scrutiny

The Bill proposes to establish a framework to support sporting bodies in their attempt to recognise and manage integrity risks associated with the betting that takes place on their sport.
Under the proposed Bill, approved controlling bodies will be given the power to determine which sporting events are being prescribed as a declared betting event and which new types of bets are to be permitted.

Persons will be able apply to the Minister for Sport and Recreation to have events prescribed as betting events, provided they have entered into an integrity agreement with the sports controlling body for the sporting event. If there is no controlling body, the person seeking to have the event prescribed must consult with the key persons or bodies involved in the administration of the sporting event.

If the Minister prescribes a sporting event as a declared betting event, the Minister must also prescribe the types of bets that are permitted to be made. The sports controlling bodies will have the power to apply to have existing types of bets prohibited in respect of a sporting event that has been prescribed as a declared betting event. The Minister will be required to comply with the application for removal of a particular type of bet, unless the Minister considers that it would not be in the public interest to do so.

Betting service providers (as defined by the Bill) will also be required under the Bill to be licensed and to enter into integrity agreements with the sports controlling body for a sporting event before being permitted to offer betting services.

Fines for breaches

A betting service provider who breaches the legislation may receive a fine of up to $11,000. An individual who breaches the legislation may receive a $5,500 fine or 12 months imprisonment or both. If a betting service provider offers a betting service, they may be subject to a fine if they are not either;

  • a licensed betting service provider; or
  • they have not entered into an integrity agreement with the sports controlling body.

Bookmakers face the same penalties if they accept or make a bet on a declared betting event and they are not licensed or do not hold a declared betting event authority. The Minister will have the ability to grant such an authority to a licensed bookmaker on application by the bookmaker.

Potential impact of the Bill
The proposed Bill will give the sports controlling bodies, as assigned by the Minister, far greater control over the betting activities surrounding their sport in NSW. However, Australian betting service providers will be mindful of the fact that overseas betting agencies would not be limited to the requirements of the proposed Bill. The reforms may subsequently receive a backlash form betting service providers in Australia who fear that the changes to the Racing Administration Act will further encourage Australians to engage in online betting with foreign online better agencies.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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