Media Release – Wednesday, 19 March 2014 Hon George Souris MP, Minister for Tourism, Major Events, Hospitality and Racing Hon Gabrielle Upton MP, Minister for Sport and Recreation The NSW Government has introduced legislation to Parliament to combat match fixing in sport, Minister for Tourism, Major Events, Hospitality and Racing, George Souris and Minister for Sport and Recreation, Gabrielle Upton, announced on 19th March. Mr Souris said the legislation, known as the Racing Administration Amendment (Sports Betting National Operational Model) Bill 2014, provides a framework for betting agencies to enter into integrity agreements with sports controlling bodies. This will also let the Government determine which sporting bodies are appropriate for wagering activity. It will allow for increased scrutiny of betting on sports that may not be considered professional. Approved controlling bodies will now be given the power to choose the types of bets that are available for their sport. A betting agency breaching the legislation will receive a fine of up to $11,000. An individual who breaches the legislation will receive a $5,500 fine or 12 months imprisonment or both. Australians expect the sports they watch or in which they participate to be played fairly and honestly and the NSW Government is committed to doing everything it can to ensure sport is free of the threat of match fixing and corruption, Mr Souris said. The legislation will support a national model which underpins the National Policy on Match Fixing in Sport which was agreed to by all Sports Ministers in 2011. These agreements will include integrity measures used to prevent, investigate and assist in the prosecution of match fixing or corrupt behaviour; provide financial returns to the sports involved and include information sharing arrangements and a consultation process for new sporting events and bet types. Sports controlling bodies will also have a right to veto betting on their sport if it is deemed in the public interest. Mr Souris pointed out that in September, 2012, the Government introduced the first legislation of its type in Australia outlawing match fixing with penalties of up to 10 years jail for offenders. That legislation created offences for any person who intentionally fixes or attempts to fix the outcome of a sporting event, Mr Souris said. Ms Upton said eliminating all forms of match fixing was a huge challenge. This Bill will establish a framework to strengthen the capacity of sporting bodies to recognise and manage integrity risks associated with the betting that takes place on their sport, Ms Upton said. It also enables sporting bodies to receive a share of the revenues that accrue from approved betting, recognising the value of their sporting products. The new system will help strengthen public confidence in the integrity of sports and the betting that occurs on events. This Bill is an example of the NSW Government s commitment to promoting integrity in sport and the regulation of associated sports betting. Sport has long been regarded as integral to the Australian way of life. Australians are entitled to expect that sporting contests are played honestly and to the ideals of fair play and good sportsmanship.
Key measures of the Bill include:
- A new offence which prohibits sports betting providers, whether in NSW or elsewhere, from offering a betting service on a sporting event unless an integrity agreement is in place with the sports controlling body for the event. Details of integrity agreements including financial arrangements will be determined by the parties to the agreement, not the Government.
- The offence provision will not apply if there is no sports controlling body for the sporting event, if a sporting event is held wholly outside the State, or during the six-month period following the approval of a new sports controlling body for an event.
- A framework for confirming the status of sports controlling bodies.
- An event or class of events can be declared a betting event upon application by an authorised bookmaker or the TAB.
- New sporting events can be prescribed if a sports controlling body has been approved for the event and an integrity agreement is in place between the applicant and the sports controlling body.
- If there is no approved sport controlling body for a sporting event, an applicant would need to consult with key people or bodies involved in the administration of an event and then apply for it to be prescribed as a betting event.
- The Minister will be able to authorise licensed bookmakers to take bets on declared betting events. Bookmakers will not be allowed to accept or make a bet on a declared betting event unless they are licensed and hold a declared betting event authority and abide by any conditions set down.
- Betting service providers will also be provided with a six month transition period to reach an integrity agreement with a newly approved sports controlling body.