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Betting say should go to sports authorities; Report says memoranda of understanding should be more widely adopted.


SPORTS BODIES should be involved in deciding what types of bet can be offered on their sports, a powerful group of MPs and peers has said in a report aiming to crack down on corruption.

The unusual recommendation is joined by the suggestion that audit trails established by betting exchanges should be extended to a much wider range of bookmakers' customers.

The recommendations appear in a report of inquiry into the Effects of Betting on Sport, published yesterday by the All-Party Parliamentary Betting and Gaming Group, chaired by Lord Faulkner of Worcester.

In a written submission to the inquiry, Cricket Australia, the sport's governing body, pointed out that it had no say in what type of bets were offered on matches, nor did it receive any share of the betting revenue.

The submission stated: ``When the Australian team was last touring in England, bookmakers there were offering odds on how many players would wear vests, as opposed to jumpers, and how many players would wear sunglasses in the first session of play.

``We think it is these types of bets that pose the greatest threat of corrupt conduct by players, officials and administrators. We think it is essential for sport to have a direct involvement in determining the types of bets that may be facilitated, to minimise the chance of corruption.''

The report agrees, and calls for consultation with governing bodies to be incorporated into memoranda of understanding between betting operators and sports authorities.

It calls for these MoUs, which it regards as helpful in protecting the integrity of sports betting, to be more widely adopted.

Betfair has led the way in negotiating MoUs, giving sports authorities, including the Jockey Club, unprecedented access to information on betting transactions. The report suggests that betting exchanges should accept bets on sports only where an MoU has been signed.

This would rule out markets on sports such as golf, rugby union, snooker and American football, where no such agreements are yet in place.

The report rejects the Association of British Bookmakers' contention that the exchanges' audit trail of transactions is of limited value. It states: ``It is clear that MoUs between betting organisations and sports governing bodies can do much to improve the integrity of sports betting, and confidence in the effec-tiveness of governing bodies to root out corruption.

``We believe the ability to identify layers and backers is of great importance as a means of deterring and, if necessary, apprehending those who are engaging in corrupt or irregular betting activity. We recommend that the principle of establishing audit trails in the betting industry be extended, starting with the credit and online customers of bookmakers.''

In a recommendation with significant implications for betting shop operations, the report calls on bookmakers to ``consider ways of introducing processes to identify those responsible for large or unusual bets as a means of spotting early indications of problem gambling or irregular betting patterns''.

It recommends that all major betting operators sign MoUs with the sports on which they base their bet-ting. This would include online and High Street bookmakers, with the MoUs to be subject to the approval of the Gambling Commission, due to be set up under the Gambling Bill.

The report calls for the insertion in the Gambling Bill of a clause obliging the Gambling Commission to provide a full definition of ``cheating'', which the bill makes an offence.

It also calls for a common approach to insider dealing by betting exchanges and spread betting companies, with liaison between the Gambling Commission and Financial Services Authority.

The All-Party Group was made up of eight peers and MPs, including Lord Donoughue and Lord Lipsey, prominent figures in racing politics, and MPs Jeff Ennis and George Howarth.

n Sports betting, page 94 n Greyhounds, page 83


Cricket Australia believes novelty bets, such as those on how many players wear sunglasses, are a potential source of corruption
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:The Racing Post (London, England)
Date:Feb 10, 2005
Previous Article:Journalist s legal threat against tipping service.
Next Article:Inquiry appreciates the value of audit trails.

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