IBIA Calls for Introduction of In-Play Betting in Australia

Australia’s Sports Wagering Scheme (ASWS) designed to boost sports betting integrity would need to consider adding in-play betting and strengthen racing betting regulation, the International Betting Integrity Association (IBIA) has cautioned.

IBIA Calls for In-Play Betting Options and Boosting Sports Integrity

The International Betting Integrity Association (IBIA) has launched an appeal for in-play betting opportunities in Australia, citing high intensity of live sports betting in the offshore segment. If anything, IBIA has seen a dramatic increase in the total sports handle placed on live sports events offshore over the past months.

IBIA’s efforts focus on the creation of a potential sports integrity framework by the name of Australian Sports Wagering Scheme (ASWS). The association has analyzed the market and has urged for regulators and authorities to help boost the integrity of sporting competitions in Australia, shortly after the Australian parliament took another stab at gambling by considering a ban on social casino games.

One way to do this, the association says, is by bringing more sports betting opportunities back to the country. This comes as a direct result from the Sports Integrity Taskforce which ran a public discussion about sports betting. Before that, regulators carried out the Wood Review, a report that looked into the integrity of Australian sports back in 2018.

Long in the making, the suggestion is based on facts, IBIA says. Sport Integrity Australia (SIA), a proposed regulatory body, has been tipped to oversee any sportsbook that offers in-play betting opportunities, should regulators clear the move on a federal level.

Senator Bridget McKinzie discussing a sports integrity bill.

Another proposal has SIA establishing a real-time national platform that would allow the regulator to access data from sportsbooks, so that the watchdog can look for match-fixing patterns. According to the Wood Review, more sports betting opportunities should be enabled in Australia with the exception of particular competitions where the risk of match-fixing was too high.

The Wood Review, however, says that suspending specific competitions should only apply to specific games, matches and events, when the risk of fraudulent activities is too high. While suggestions have been flying left and right, the Sports Integrity Taskforce, charged with the final decision, has kept mum about the feasibility of introducing an in-play feature.

Technically, it would be very easy, but politically, it could prove a hard knot to untie. The Wood Review offered a very comprehensive list of what can be changed in Australia to better protect consumers, boost sports business integrity and drive better financial results for both businesses and the state purpose.

The Association Questions Some of the Changes

Among the 52 recommendations featured in the report was the addition of in-play betting. IBIA expressed disappointment that two years after the review was, there still isn’t an in-play betting option. Here is what the organization had to say about the issue:

“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 absence of an effective and coherent policy on in-play betting is detrimental to the regulated market.”

-IBIA

IBIA also protested against a decision to bring regulation of all sports betting activities under a single body when the present framework was already working well. One issue that needed timely addressing, though, was the lack of clear-cut regulation in the ASWS, particularly in light of how popular the domestic racing industry is, and the betting handle generated through it.

IBIA also cautioned that the governor has been asking for too steep fees and tax amounting to 20% and 30% of gross gaming revenue (GGR), making it far more difficult for legitimate operators to find foothold in the Australian market.

The state of the Australian gambling market has been a wild card. Some have cautioned that people have been gambling more.

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