Screws on betting tightened

HAMISH RUTHERFORD
Last updated 05:00 06/05/2014

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Sporting organisations are being pressured to ban or restrict "spot" betting, while serious match-fixers will face criminal charges, Sport and Recreation Minister Murray McCully says.

Yesterday, he announced the New Zealand Policy on Sports Match-Fixing and Related Corruption and said the Government planned to amend the Crimes Act 1961 "to ensure the most serious form of match-fixing is a criminal offence".

While match-fixing may constitute a criminal offence already, McCully said the move would give greater certainty to law enforcement agencies and international sporting bodies.

"New Zealand is not immune to the international risks of match-fixing and we are taking pre-emptive steps to protect our well-deserved reputation for playing fair and the integrity of New Zealand sport."

He has said it would be "naive" to think that match-fixing would not occur in New Zealand at some point.

Match-fixing relates to improperly influencing either the outcome or particular events in sports for gain, typically associated with betting.

Much of the recent attention has focused on spot betting, in which punters can bet on how likely it is for a given delivery in cricket to be, for example, a no-ball. This form of betting is considered high risk for fixing, because it can be difficult to detect and easy for a single player to instigate.

The policy urges sporting bodies to consider prohibiting spot betting, or otherwise strike a deal with the New Zealand Racing Board, which operates the TAB, to set caps on the wagers available.

Sports bodies are also urged to restrict bets on high risks to match-fixing, such as bets on minors or on events in which competitors are predominantly minors.

The new policy outlines what constitutes match-fixing.

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- The Dominion Post

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