Sports Betting

Ministerial Statement

Under section 4 of the Authorised Betting Operations Act 2000, betting operators who are licensed or authorised to operate in South Australia may only accept bets on approved contingencies. It is illegal for them to take a bet from a person on anything other than an approved contingency. The acceptance of bets that are not approved contingencies is an offence and may lead to statutory default action, including a fine or loss of licence or authorisation.

The Independent Gambling Authority (IGA) is currently the body responsible for the approval of contingencies, and from 1 December this year this function will be undertaken by the Liquor and Gambling Commissioner under gambling regulation reforms that have been previously announced. The IGA has advised that prior to approving a contingency they consider whether betting operations are lawful in other states and the likely nature and scale of betting operations under consideration.

Contingencies will not be approved by the regulator that are readily susceptible to fraud or manipulation. Following an application by Tabcorp, the IGA on 28 June this year approved snooker, Gaelic football, handball, volleyball (including beach volleyball) and grid-iron, that is, the non-US. In this particular case, all five sports are recognised as national sporting organisations by the Australian Sports Commission.

The IGA also sought advice from the Office for Sport and Recreation on any integrity issues within these sports and the management of these sports. The IGA was satisfied that the proposed sports presented no greater risk of manipulation than any other sporting event subject to betting being limited to events conducted by prescribed associations and affiliated international and national bodies. The IGA also considered whether approving the contingencies would increase problem gambling. Their view was very clear: it was unlikely that sports would create or increase problem gambling.

The acceptance of bets on these sports are limited to events sanctioned directly by the association prescribed in the relevant Approved Betting Contingencies Variation Notice and affiliated international and national organisations. For the purpose of these contingencies, the prescribed associations are:

World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association;

Australian Billiards and Snooker Council;

Gaelic Athletic Association;

International Handball Federation;

International Federation of Volleyball; and

Canadian Football League.

In light of alleged concerns raised by the member for Lee that this decision could lead to online betting on a new range of minor sports at junior level or could lead to manipulation or corruption within, I inform the house as follows:

1. Prior to granting approval, the IGA sought further particular advice on this from Tabcorp; and

2. Tabcorp confirmed they will not be offering bets on any of these sports for junior and amateur league competitions.

That was well known before the approval was granted. If the opposition is aware of any instances of betting on unlawful contingencies or corruption within sports, I urge them to contact the regulator instead of running to the media. Furthermore, I confirm that the Liquor and Gambling Commissioner will review all contingencies when he assumes responsibility for the functions of the IGA. For the avoidance of doubt, the wording of all contingencies will be amended if required to explicitly preclude betting on amateur and junior sports. So let the members be absolutely clear: there will be no 10 year olds throwing a match under our watch.