1 February 2016

The investigative reporting by ABC’s Four Corners program has uncovered corruption and match-fixing on an unprecedented scale and reinforced the need for an immediate Senate Inquiry into betting on sports fixtures, according to the Australian Christian Lobby.

ACL managing director Lyle Shelton said it was deeply concerning that Australia’s police-force as well as the FBI did not know the full extent of corruption and sport links with international crime syndicates.

“As the Four Corners program indicated, corruption and gambling goes far beyond tennis. It’s tentacles reach across all sports.

“The ABC program reported that the unregulated betting markets that operate across all sports are worth between $1-3 trillion annually.

“It is clear that the governing sports bodies do not have a proper handle on the issue and need to be supported by way of a Senate Inquiry to look into the potentially corrupting effect of betting on sports."

Mr Shelton said promoting sports gambling through television advertising sends a bad message to our children.

“Apart from the potentially corrupting influence of betting, it is not healthy for children to be socialised into gambling through sports betting advertising,” Mr Shelton said.

“So many parents are keen for their kids to be active in sport because it has always been a teacher of positive character values such as perseverance and teamwork. The encroachment of gambling into sports broadcasting undermines this.

“A Senate Inquiry would uncover gambling’s potential to corrupt the game and the social harms it causes particularly in contributing to poverty.

“There is enough evidence to suggest that gambling has a negative impact on those in low socio-economic regions and it’s our responsibility, as well as of those in the sport industry, to protect these people from the demonstrated harm that gambling causes our families and communities.

“We agree with calls by the Victorian Minister for Gaming and Liquor Regulation, Jane Garrett and the Alliance for Gambling Reform spokesman Tim Costello, for a national conversation on gambling, particularly looking at the impact of gambling advertising on kids and young people.

“This issue is an example of where principled public leadership is needed in the face of powerful vested interests in the gambling industry.

“As a partner in the Alliance for Gambling Reform, the ACL welcomes the opportunity to provide advice on developing terms of references for a Senate inquiry.”