Tue, Mar 28, 12:01pm by Staff Writer
William Hill has run afoul of the AFL and been forced to take down round by round Brownlow Medal markets.
William Hill opened a market on Monday offering punters the opportunity to bet on the previous round’s Brownlow Medal votes which won’t be published until Brownlow Medal night in September.
A bookmaker has not previously offered such a market so soon after the completion of a game, although round by round Brownlow betting was available after the completion o the season alst year.
But the AFL strongly objected and because William Hill have signed onto a memorandum of understanding offer the AFL ‘power of veto’ over their markets, the markets lasted less than six hour.
“We don’t support it, and we’ve asked for them to remove it,” AFL spokesman Patrick Keane said. “We have to sign off on them and our view was no, we don’t support it.”
While the AFL didn’t express what was their specific concern, it is likely they saw it as integrity risk.
As it stands, the umpires submit their 3, 2 and 1 votes for each match after the game and those votes are locked away until Brownlow Medal day.
Allowing immediate match by match votes, could cause a perception of possible corruption in the process and undermine the integrity of the game’s highest individual honour.
“The markets were deemed not to be eligible ones as per our agreement with the AFL so we removed them immediately. Often happens as we try to diversify our offering as much as possible for customers but above all else our relationship with both the AFL and the overall integrity of the sport is number one priority so also oblige with AFL requests” William Hill Australia spokesman James Burroughs said.
William Hill have been renowned for pushing the envelope in this country when it comes to sports betting. They pioneered the Click To Call technology, which allowed online in play betting via loophole in existing legislation.
The William Hill innovation to offer Brownlow betting on a round by round basis drew the typical hysteria from anti-gambling crusaders.
“This would have put incredible pressure on umpires not to reveal what they know week in and week out,” Reverend Tim Costello told the Herald Sun.
“I would never question the integrity of umpires, but this move would see the boys in white exposed to the same kind of bribery and coercion that players currently face.”
“It’s only a matter of time before those secrets are targeted by criminals,” Costello said.
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