News that there is a syndicate that bets on AFL games and is reported to be trying to recruit footballers as “members” is not surprising, but is of huge concern. Governments must act to establish a national gambling regulator with responsibilities for overseeing and regulating online gambling, starting with online sports betting.

“Overseas evidence indicates that problem gambling rates are higher for on-line sports betting than all other forms of gambling, which coupled with the very real risk to sports integrity makes regulation an urgent priority,” said Mark Henley, Manager of Advocacy and Communication.

Over the last decade there has been a sevenfold increase in Internet gambling turnover, most of this coming from sports betting, with estimates for ‘legal’ online gambling pushing global turnover to currently be up to $A50billion

The risk to sport integrity has been clearly seen for over a decade, Cricket, Baseball in a range of overseas leagues, college basketball in the US and many other sports have seen challenges to their integrity. Meanwhile, all but 6 AFL clubs would have budget deficits without gambling revenue. Uniting Communities argues that the gambling industry and particularly sports betting has formed unhealthy relationships with many sporting codes.

“A national gambling regulator would be responsible for registering online gambling providers, setting criteria for sports betting in Australia, requiring consumer protection processes to be in place, coordination sports integrity, compliance and enforcement and international regulatory relationships,” said Mr. Henley

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Mark Henley

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