Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) step up their efforts to combat corruption within the sports and the sportsbook industry in the country. Ahead of the next year’s Olympic Games in London, Australian athletes are to be subjected to unprecedented regulations and procedures to limit the number of people who accept bribes from organized crime or cheat after placing a bet on sports in Australia.
AOC President, John Coates and the Federal Minister for Sport, Mark Arbib, met last week to discuss the strategy. Coates suggested to introduce a national sports betting authority, designed to help enforce Australian gambling laws. The proposed authority would be independent of any sport and sport governing agencies and would possess federal powers and resources.
Australian Olympic Team’s membership agreement also has to be adjusted for the 2012 Games, to prevent any Australian athlete from betting on themselves or any one else for the duration the upcoming Olympic Games. Coates declared he will severely punish team members who step outside the framework of the agreement. While Arbib proposed a 10 year prison term for any athlete found to be guilty of illegal betting.
Coates had the following comments: ”In our team membership agreements, we have always had clauses in there that prohibited involvement by our team members in betting on Olympic Games, on other athletes or themselves, we are just making it more specific. We have added the references to prohibition to illegal and irregular gambling betting to our ethical behavior by-laws … that will be in place, the athletes will be briefed on it. It will be made very clear to them that we will not tolerate any betting during the Olympic Games.”
The illegal betting industry, including organized crime operated internet betting in Australia is estimated to be worth around $140 billion a year worldwide. Arbib suggested that battling this problem will take cooperation of all governments, sport federations and legal sportsbooks.
He said: ”This is a very serious crime and there are large sums of money involved internationally. We need to send a strong message to those people who are involved in match fixing and those people involved in illegal gambling that government will act.”