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State probe finds AFL can do more to protect punters

Wed, Nov 13, 1:34pm by Dominic Ciconte

AFLTHE AFL should strengthen the integrity of its gambling policies to protect punters, according to a Victorian State Government probe.

The Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation launched an investigation into the league in February this year, following claims that the Melbourne Demons deliberately lost games in 2009 to gain priority selections in the national draft.

The Demons were found not guilty of tanking by the AFL, but were fined $500,000 for “conduct prejudicial to the competition.”

The State’s investigation centred more on the AFL itself and whether the competition had the adequate policies, rules and procedures to guarantee the integrity of the competition.

While there were no additional findings Melbourne, the commission said in a statement: “The VCGLR identified measures where the AFL could enhance its current policies and procedures to strengthen its integrity framework and provide further assurances to betting patrons.”

The AFL has financial arrangements with 18 betting agencies and corporate bookmakers, which each pay the league a percentage of their turnover on football gambling. Several clubs also have exclusive sponsorship deals with bookies.

While all types of football betting must be approved by the AFL, the commission said the league should improve it’s current policies as well as setting clearer, documented procedures for approving requests from betting agencies for new products and bet types.

An independent report complied by Deloitte and commissioned by Sportsbet in 2011 revealed the $900 million annual turnover on the various betting markets in the AFL would increase to $1.8 billion in five years.

Our take

The Demons tanking scandal was a dark time for the AFL and the integrity of its betting and draft. Since the findings, the AFL has removed the bonus priority selection Melbourne was accused of tanking for and steps have been taken to tighten up its relationship with betting agencies.

If it’s going to continue working alongside bookmakers and advertise to Australian punters, the AFL has to do more to protect the integrity of each game and be even more harsh on suspected tankers.

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