Betting on racing and sport is a multi-billion dollar industry in Australia. Its exact size can be glimpsed from a recent report by local wagering and gaming operator Tabcorp.
According to the figures that have been revealed, Aussies spent AUD 26 billion in bets in 2012. Interestingly, only 15% of this money was bet on sports in Australia, with the rest being played on the ponies.
The amount (AUD 4 billion) spent on sports was 3% higher than what was expended in 2011. The share of online transactions is also on the rise, since internet betting in Australia is absolutely legal.
Another report, this one by Deloitte, shows that nearly half of the money wagered on sports in 2011 was spent on professional Australian football and rugby. Betting is on the rise and the report projects the doubling of turnover in those sports within five years.
With the recent release of yet another report – by the Australian Crime Commission – detailing serious breaches of legal and ethical codes and pointing to possible match fixing across the whole spectrum of Australian sports, questions are being raised about the impact of gambling on these sports.
The issue has several aspects to consider, not least the multi-million-dollar relationships that exist between betting companies and sports clubs.
Some lawmakers are already calling for a suspension of all sports betting until measures to safeguard the integrity of sports and betting are implemented. The government has also conducted a review of Australian gambling laws, but the final report has not been made available yet.