2023 National Sport Integrity Forum examines sports betting

This year's Sport Integrity Forum took a deep-dive into challenges posed by sports betting.
Thursday 23 November 2023

Victoria University recently hosted the 8th National Sport Integrity Forum (NSIF), taking a deep-dive into challenges posed by sports betting. In collaboration with Major Partner, Sportscover, this year’s NSIF was titled: ‘Betting your bottom dollar, against the odds?’

The forum featured experts in the industry discussing regulation, legal and illegal betting, match fixing, the impact on gambling advertising on young people and livestreaming community-level sports events.

The panellists emphasised the need for better awareness of the associated risks, and the importance of (preventative) education and better national alignment of policies and regulation.

Simon Bishop, representing Basketball Australia, discussed the administrative challenges posed by the growth of online wagering. He noted a significant increase in the number of agreements with betting operators, highlighting the need for extensive administrative efforts to manage these relationships. Bishop also discussed emerging challenges, such as the socialisation of gambling through apps on social media platforms, leading to increased instances of betting rule breaches.

The conversation touched on international aspects, with concerns raised about unregulated international markets and potential risks associated with selling data rights to global gambling companies.

Sport Integrity Australia’s Lara Hayes elaborated on the agency's role and the initiatives proposed in response to the Wood Review. She discussed the challenges of foreign investment and ownership of clubs and sports organisations, emphasising the vulnerabilities it introduces, especially when it comes to influencing betting-related outcomes and manipulating competitions.

The conversation also addressed the risks associated with illegal betting activities, particularly at the community level, where the lack of transparency and oversight poses challenges for sports organisations. Hayes mentioned the agency's work in developing position papers on emerging trends, such as foreign investment, to educate sports organisations about potential risks.

Andy Cunningham of Sportradar, noted the proactive stance of Australian sports organisations in tackling integrity threats. He mentioned the collaborative efforts, investments in dedicated units like Sport Integrity Australia, and the use of advanced technology, including AI, for monitoring betting patterns. Cunningham provided a global perspective on the low number of reported suspicious events in Australian sports, indicating that some effective measures are in place.

University of Canberra Dr Catherine Ordway stressed the difficulties arising from Australia's federal system, where state legislation and regulatory frameworks vary, making it challenging to establish a harmonised and nationally consistent approach to sports betting regulation. The discussion touched on the patchwork nature of laws and regulations, creating challenges for national bodies to prosecute matters related to sports betting.

In a collective call to action the panellists advocated the creation of a national sports-wagering scheme, progressing harm minimisation measures, achieving consistent regulatory frameworks, promoting real-time information sharing, addressing gaps in education for athletes at all levels, and making progress in national legislation to align with international best practices.

Watch the recording of the 2023 National Sport Integrity Forum.

Contact us

Professor Hans Westerbeek

Head of the Sport Business Insights Group, Institute for Health & Sport

[email protected]