Lawmakers of the Australian state of Victoria plan to introduce the nation’s first legislation, increasing penalties for involvement in illegal betting and match fixing. Australian gambling laws may be amended to include penalties as tough as prison terms for the offenders.
Victoria is the first Australian state to seriously focus on the problem. Michael O’Brien, Victorian Gaming Minister, pledged to come up with legislation, focusing on measures to stop increasing problem of match fixing and illegal betting.
Currently Australians cannot be registered officially at online sportsbooks in Australia, which forces them to turn to foreign based sites or illegal betting facilities. O’Brien is looking to increase the penalties for illegal betting activities and even include jail sentences as punishment.
O’Brien’s pledge follows the publication of a review of sports betting regulation by Racing Victoria chairman of stewards, Des Gleeson. Unlike Gleeson, O’Brien is pushing for a national approach to regulation.
O’Brian told online gambling news in Australia: “The amount of money being wagered on sports is increasing at a significant rate (and) if we don’t act soon we will find ourselves in a crisis of integrity.”
Australian Crime Commission held a briefing last month, where state and federal sports ministers agreed to create a new regime to tackle the problem of match fixing and illegal gambling. The government has already asked all relevant sports bodies to adopt consistent codes of conduct.
O’Brien has expressed fears that some states may be too slow to adopt new regulations, which will decrease the effectiveness of measures taken by more progressive states. He also mentioned that Victoria state will continue to push the proposed regulations forward, regardless of other states efforts.