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Silvia Pavlof January 20, 2023 3 min read
Australian Operators Offer Bets on Events with Underage Players
Outrage was sparked in Australia as it was revealed three major Australian gambling companies are offering bets on international cricket matches involving underage players
ABC reported that Sportsbet, TAB, and bet365 have been providing options for betting on the first Under-19 Women’s T20 World Cup taking place in South Africa this month, including the match between Australia and Sri Lanka held in Benoni last Wednesday. Nearly half of the Australian players on the team were under 18, including 15-year-old Maggie Clark and 16-year-old Lucy Hamilton. Similarly, all but three of Sri Lanka’s team were under 18.
National Children’s Commissioner Condemns Betting on Sports Events Involving Minors
Sportsbet and TAB have been providing their customers with pre-match odds for the outcome of various matches in the tournament, including the Australia-Sri Lanka match, as well as Bangladesh against the USA, India against Scotland and South Africa against the United Arab Emirates matches.
Australia-based bookmakers are prohibited from offering in-play betting, which is when customers can place bets on a match after it has begun. Despite this, bet365’s international sites still offered various in-play bets on the Australia-Sri Lanka match after it had started.
National Children’s Commissioner Anne Hollonds has called these betting revelations exploitation of children and has urged for laws banning gambling on sporting events featuring minors. According to Hollonds, young people are being used by gambling companies whose only aim is to make profits.
According to Sportsbet, the company is putting a lot of effort into making sure that it complies with all legislations, requirements and rules. So far TAB and bet365 have not issued any statements regarding the issue.
It must be noted that Sportsbet recently got in trouble with the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) over breaching the prohibition on in-play wagering.
Minors Are More Vulnerable to Match-Fixing
Cricket Australia also issued a statement confirming that they adhere to government guidelines on betting sponsorship and provide anti-corruption education for all of their pathway programs, including the Australian under-19 women’s team. The organization also added that while it cannot control the betting products that are offered, it will continue to ensure that its players and teams are protected through its anti-corruption education and reporting processes.
ABC also referred to a statement by Catherine Ordway, a sports integrity specialist at the University of Canberra, who warned that in-play betting poses a significant risk when it comes to matches involving children. She said that such bets should immediately raise concerns and noted that young athletes are particularly susceptible to approaches from match-fixers on social media.
This scandal highlights the need for stricter regulations on gambling, particularly when it comes to underage players, Hollonds has noted. These young athletes are not only vulnerable to exploitation but also to the risk of integrity issues. Hollonds in particular highlighted that it is important for authorities to take action and protect these young players from such exploitative practices.