AUSTRALIA'S biggest online bookmakers have seized on allegations of match-fixing in a Melbourne soccer competition to again call for consistent national laws which would protect their interests.
Police have charged six men for their alleged involvement in a $2 million global gambling ring. Among those charged are the coach and goalkeeper of the Southern Stars Football Club, which plays in the Victorian Premier League.
The Australian Wagering Council, which represents Australia's eight biggest online bookmakers, said the latest allegations highlighted the need for all states and territories to fast track the introduction of consistent national criminal offences for people caught corrupting the betting outcomes of sporting events.
New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia have passed legislation and others have indicated they plan to do so, but AWC CEO Chris Downy said the integrity of Australian sport was at risk unless all states and territories acted.
"Our Australian wagering and sports betting industry is fundamentally reliant on protecting the integrity of Australian racing and sport," Mr Downy said.
"Introducing consistent criminal offences with harsher penalties for those fraudulently manipulating sporting events is a positive step toward ensuring the protection of our sporting heritage and our wagering industry.
"AWC members have a zero tolerance to corruption in racing and sport and have a longstanding commitment to working closely with government and major Australian sporting bodies to ensure integrity obligations are fulfilled."
The AWC said it was doing this in a number of ways, including conducting regular audits of their customer databases to determine if prohibited participants, such as players and officials, have placed bets; enforcing industry standards for information exchange with sports, governments and law enforcement agencies about unusual bets and suspicious betting patterns, and; negotiating integrity agreements with each of the sports' controlling bodies.