Law Library Stacks

Back to Index of Sports Betting

Australia’s Interactive Gambling Act 2001 (Cth) allows for the provision of online and telephone sports betting services to customers in Australia, provided that the betting agencies are licensed by an Australian state or territory licensing authority. Each state and territory has its own legislation that regulates sports betting. In terms of match-fixing and integrity in sports, the National Policy on Match-fixing in Sport, signed in 2011, contains provisions encouraging the development of nationally-consistent legislation concerning arrangements between sports controlling bodies and betting agencies. Currently, two Australian states, New South Wales and Victoria, have legislative provisions that refer to such arrangements. The provisions allow betting agencies and sports controlling bodies to reach their own agreements regarding any financial return to the sport based on betting on that particular sport.

I. Introduction

Sports betting in Australia is primarily regulated at the state and territory level. Each jurisdiction has laws, regulations, and licensing authorities that regulate the provision of sports betting services.[1]

At the national level, the Interactive Gambling Act 2001 (Cth)[2] prohibits the provision of certain interactive gambling services to customers in Australia, including “casino-style games, online slot machines and online wagering services that accept in-play bets on sports events.”[3] It also requires that “regulated interactive gambling services” only be provided to customers in Australia by entities that have been licensed by an Australian state or territory licensing authority.[4] Such services include “telephone betting services and online wagering services (other than those offering in-play betting)”[5] The Australian Communications and Media Authority maintains a national register of licensed wagering service providers.[6]

In June 2011, federal, state, and territory sports ministers signed the National Policy on Match-fixing in Sport.[7] Under this Policy, “the sports betting industry has agreed to adopt an industry standard for information exchange and information provision requirements with sports, governments and law enforcement agencies.”[8] A National Integrity of Sport Unit was established “to provide national oversight, monitoring and coordination of efforts to protect the integrity of sport in Australia from the threats of doping, match-fixing and other forms of corruption.”[9]

Individual jurisdictions have enacted provisions related to match-fixing offenses, the role of sports controlling bodies, and integrity agreements. This report provides information on particular provisions that refer to the payment of a fee by betting service providers to sports organizations.

Back to Top

II.  National Policy on Match-fixing in Sport

The National Policy contains provisions regarding the development of nationally-consistent legislation that would govern arrangements or agreements between sports and betting agencies, stating as follows:

Arrangements between sports and betting agencies.
3.5 All Australian governments agree to pursue nationally consistent legislative arrangements that provides:
a. a ‘Sport Controlling Body’ for each sport or competition to be identified and registered by an appropriate regulator, for example, a state or territory gaming commission, and be recognised in each jurisdiction;
b. the Sport Controlling Body to deal with betting agencies, licensed in any state or territory, on behalf of their sport; and
c. the Sport Controlling Body to register all events subject to betting with the relevant regulator.

3.6 All Australian governments also agree that this legislation, or binding agreements made pursuant to legislation, will deal with arrangements between the Sport Controlling Body and betting agencies including:
a. requirements that a sporting organisation must apply to the appropriate regulator for approval as the Sport Controlling Body for a sports betting event;
b. requirements that a betting agency must not offer a betting service on an event unless:

i. an agreement is in effect between the registered Sport Controlling Body and the betting agency; or
ii. a determination of the appropriate regulator is in effect for the betting agency to offer a betting service on the event;

c. requirements for betting agencies to obtain agreement from the sporting organisation on all bet types offered on the sport involved, including what level of competition bets may offered on (for example, minor leagues versus premier leagues), with sports having the ability to veto bet types; and
d. arrangements for financial return to the sport based on betting on that particular sport.

3.7 Governments note the approach to implementation of such provisions may vary across jurisdictions depending on existing legislative arrangements.

3.8 All Australian governments agree that provisions under this legislation may cover:
a. definitions of sports betting, sports betting events, sports betting providers, a betting service, sport controlling body and an appropriate regulator;
b. requirements for the sporting organisation to provide the betting agency with information regarding their members (players, staff) and relevant competition/event details;
c. provision for information to be referred to the appropriate regulator or law enforcement agency in the event of an incident;
d. facilitation of international information sharing where appropriate (eg in trans-Tasman sporting competitions);
e. approval of events and competitions of any kind for sports betting purposes, and of bet types relating to those events and competitions, by an appropriate regulator (with the exception of horse, harness or greyhound racing);
f. provision for the appropriate regulator to have the right to seek information it thinks fit from betting agencies and the relevant sporting organisation to assess sports betting applications;
g. provision for the appropriate regulator to have the right to impose any conditions it thinks fit to provide approval of an event at the time of giving the approval or at any later time;
h. approvals that will be controlled by the appropriate regulator including approval conditions, variation and revocation of approvals, application process, determination of applications and duration and surrender of approvals, costs of investigating applications, and mechanisms to manage objections, disputes and tribunals;
i. the range of matters the appropriate regulator will consider when assessing events for sports betting eg integrity risks, the sport organisation’s capacity to administer and enforce rules or codes of conduct to ensure the integrity of the event or competition;
j. specification of reporting and publication requirements of the appropriate regulator to government, the public and other agencies as required;
k. provision that the Sport Controlling Body may make an agreement with a betting agency for the betting agency to offer a betting service on the event and under the agreement the parties will:

i. provide for the sharing of information between a sport controlling body and a betting agency for the purposes of protecting and supporting integrity in sport and sport betting; and
ii. state whether or not a fee is payable by the betting agency to the sport controlling body in respect of betting on the sports betting event and if a fee is payable, what the fee is or how it is calculated.

l. a betting agency must not accept, offer to accept, or invite a person to place, a bet; or facilitate the placing of a bet on a contingency that is the subject of a prohibition.[10]

Back to Top

III. State and Territory Legislation Related to Integrity in Sports

Following the signing of the National Policy, New South Wales (NSW) was the first state to pass legislation establishing specific match-fixing offenses in 2012.[11] Several other jurisdictions subsequently passed similar legislation during 2013.[12]

A.  New South Wales Provisions Regarding Integrity Agreements

In 2014, the NSW parliament passed further legislation related to integrity in sports and the regulation of sports betting, with the amendments coming into effect in late 2015.[13] These reforms “regulate the interaction between sporting organisations and betting service providers, provide a framework for the establishment of integrity agreements between sports controlling bodies and betting service providers, and outline fundamental requirements for betting on sporting events.”[14]

Under the current provisions in the Betting and Racing Act 1998 (NSW) (previously the Racing Administration Act 1998 (NSW)), the relevant minister may, by order published in the state government gazette, prescribe “an event or class of event” as a “declared betting event” and prescribe the types of bets that are permitted to be made on the event.[15] Such an order must only be made pursuant to an application by a licensed bookmaker or licensee under the Totalizer Act 1997 (NSW).[16] If there is a sports controlling authority for the relevant event, the minister may only make an order prescribing an event as a sports betting event or permitting a new type of bet on such an event if

(2) . . .

(a)  an integrity agreement that meets the requirements of this section is in place between the sports controlling body and the bookmaker or licensee who applied for the order (the applicant), and

(b)  the applicant has consulted the sports controlling body in respect of the making of the application and the sports controlling body does not oppose the making of the order.

(3)  An integrity agreement referred to in this section must:

(a) set out the measures that will be used to prevent, investigate and assist in the prosecution of any match fixing or other corrupt behaviour related to betting on the sporting event, and

(b) provide for funding to go to the sports controlling body for the purposes of implementing some or all of those measures (unless the sports controlling body does not want any such funding), and

(c)  provide for the sharing of information between the sports controlling body and the applicant, and

(d)  provide for a consultation process that ensures that the applicant will, if the sports controlling body is the sports controlling body for a particular sporting event, consult with the sports controlling body before making any application under section 18 (4) in respect of the sporting event.[17]

According to the NSW Office of Sport, the 2015 reforms

prohibit any betting service provider from offering a betting service (in NSW or elsewhere) in relation to a NSW sporting event unless that betting service provider is licensed in an Australian jurisdiction.

In addition, if there is a prescribed sports controlling body for the sporting event the licensed betting service provider must not offer betting services unless there is an integrity agreement meeting the requirements of the legislation in place between the sports controlling body and the licensed betting-service provider.

The essential requirements of an integrity agreement include the following:

1. an outline of the measures used to prevent, investigate and assist in the prosecution of any match fixing or corrupt behaviour;

2. provision of financial return to the sport;

3. information sharing arrangements; and

4. a consultation process for applications for new sporting events and bet types.

Details of the integrity agreement, including financial arrangements, are determined not by Government but by the parties to the agreement. While the Act contains measures that actively bring the parties to the negotiating table, the outcome of the negotiations is left to the parties themselves. It is considered that the parties themselves are in the best position to reach agreement on these commercial matters, at arms length from Government.

It is expected that arrangements for the provision of financial return to sports from betting service providers will assist in meeting the integrity-related costs incurred by sports controlling bodies.[18]

B.  Victoria Provisions Regarding Agreements with Sports Controlling Bodies

Under the Gambling Regulation Act 2003 (Vic),[19] the Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation may approve a particular event or class of events for betting purposes, and approve a betting competition on that event or class.[20] One of the considerations for doing so is “whether the event or class is administered by an organisation that is capable of administering and enforcing rules or codes of conduct designed to ensure the integrity of the event or class.”[21] 

The Commission is also tasked with approving applications by organizations to be designated as the sports controlling authority for a sports betting event.[22] The Act prohibits a sports betting provider from offering betting services on a sports betting event unless there is either an agreement in effect between the provider and the sports controlling body, or the Commission has made a determination to allow the provider to offer the service.[23] The provision regarding such agreements states as follows:

Agreement of sports controlling body

(1) A sports controlling body for a sports betting event may make an agreement with a sports betting provider for the sports betting provider to offer a betting service on the event.

(2) An agreement must—

(a) provide for the sharing of information between the parties for the purposes of protecting and supporting integrity in sports and sports betting; and

(b) state—

(i)   whether or not a fee is payable by the sports betting provider to the sports controlling body in respect of betting on the sports betting event; and

(ii) if a fee is payable, what the fee is or how it is calculated.

(3) An agreement may contain any other matters the parties consider appropriate.

(4) An agreement takes effect, and may be terminated, in accordance with its terms.[24]

Back to Top

Prepared by Kelly Buchanan
Chief, Foreign, Comparative, and International Law Division I
July 2018


[1] For references and links to relevant state and territory legislation, see Racing and Wagering, ACT Gambling and Racing Commission, https://www.gamblingandracing.act.gov.au/regulation-and-licensing/racing-and-wagering (last updated May 29, 2018), archived at https://perma.cc/JQ4Z-QKYB; Gaming & Wagering Law, NSW Department of Industry, https://www.liquorandgaming.nsw.gov.au/Pages/gaming/law-and-policy/gaming-law.aspx (last updated Mar. 14, 2017), archived at https://perma.cc/TCU5-MTAV; About Gambling and Racing in the NT, NT.gov.au, https://nt.gov.au/industry/gambling/about-gambling-and-racing-in-the-nt (last updated Nov. 28, 2017), archived at https://perma.cc/8X69-V68S; Wagering Licensing, Business Queensland, https://www.business.qld.gov.au/industries/hospitality-tourism-sport/liquor-gaming/gaming/wagering-licensing (last updated Apr. 10, 2017), archived at https://perma.cc/MZ84-TEFB; Gambling Regulation: Regulatory Documents, South Australia Department of Treasury and Finance, https://www.treasury.sa.gov.au/economy/gambling-regulation/regulatory-documents (last visited June 20, 2018), archived at https://perma.cc/N77S-C8M7; Gambling Legislation and Regulations, Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation, https://www.vcglr.vic.gov.au/gambling/wagering-and-sports-betting/about-wagering-and-sports-betting/gambling-legislation-and-regulations (last updated May 30, 2017), archived at https://perma.cc/9EX6-YW7D; Legislation – Gaming, Tasmania Department of Treasury and Finance, http://www.treasury.tas.gov.au/liquor-and-gaming/legislation-and-data/legislation-gaming (last updated Oct. 30, 2017), archived at https://perma.cc/P2E6-G8QY; Gaming Legislation, Western Australia Department of Racing, Gaming and Liquor, https://www.rgl.wa.gov.au/legislation/gaming-legislation (last updated Mar. 16, 2015), archived at https://perma.cc/4C27-PTQE.

[2] Interactive Gambling Act 2001 (Cth), https://www.legislation.gov.au/Details/C2018C00032, archived at https://perma.cc/CJD2-NJ23. For background information regarding the legislation and interactive gambling in Australia, seeKim Jackson, Gambling and Policy Regulation, Australian Parliamentary Library (last updated Sept. 2001), https://www.aph.gov.au/About_Parliament/Parliamentary_Departments/Parliamentary_Library/ Publications_Archive/archive/gamblingebrief, archived at https://perma.cc/7F6N-RU5J.

[3] Interactive Gambling Act Reforms, Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA),https://www.acma.gov.au/Industry/Internet/Internet-content/Interactive-gambling/interactive-gambling-act-reforms (last updated Feb. 12, 2018), archived at https://perma.cc/X28T-S4NC; Interactive Gambling Act 2001 (Cth) s 5 (definition of “prohibited interactive gambling services”).

[4] Interactive Gambling Act 2001 (Cth) s 8E.

[5] Interactive Gambling Act Reforms, supra note 3; Interactive Gambling Act 2001 (Cth) ss 5(3) (listing services that are excluded from the definition of prohibited interactive gambling services) & 8AA–8D (defining different types of gambling services that are not prohibited by the Act).

[6] Register of Licensed Interactive Wagering Services, ACMA,https://www.acma.gov.au/theACMA/register-of-licensed-interactive-wagering-services (last updated May 21, 2018), archived at https://perma.cc/VX3L-83CM.

[7] National Policy on Match-Fixing in Sport as agreed 10 June 2011, available on the Australian Department of Health website, at http://www.health.gov.au/internet/main/publishing.nsf/Content/match-fixing1, archived at https://perma.cc/3ZGS-VHKX.

[8] Sport Betting Industry, Department of Health,http://www.health.gov.au/internet/main/publishing.nsf/ Content/sports-betting-industry (last updated Feb. 27, 2018), archived at https://perma.cc/CQ78-B65C.

[9] National Integrity of Sport Unit,Department of Health, http://www.health.gov.au/internet/main/publishing.nsf/ content/national-integrity-of-sport-unit (last updated Aug. 3, 2016), archived at https://perma.cc/V4ZD-WKD5.

[10] National Policy on Match-fixing in Sport, supra note 7, §§ 3.5–3.8 (emphasis added).

[11] Crimes Act 1900 (NSW) pt 4ACA (“Cheating at gambling”), https://www.legislation.nsw.gov.au/#/view/act/ 1900/40/whole, archived at https://perma.cc/X5SZ-C7WL. The relevant amendments were made by the Crimes Amendment (Cheating at Gambling) Act 2012 (NSW), https://www.legislation.nsw.gov.au/#/view/act/ 2012/64/whole, archived at https://perma.cc/CD3U-W75V. See also Tyler Fox, Match-fixing: The Australian Legislative Response, FlagPost (Australian Parliamentary Library, Mar. 13, 2013), https://www.aph.gov.au/ About_Parliament/Parliamentary_Departments/Parliamentary_Library/FlagPost/2013/March/Match-fixing_the_Australian_legislative_response, archived at https://perma.cc/6W7J-MDQT.

[12] Criminal Code (Cheating at Gambling) Amendment Act 2013 (ACT); Criminal Code Amendment (Cheating at Gambling) Act 2013 (NT); Criminal Law Consolidation (Cheating at Gambling) Amendment Act 2013 (SA); Crimes Amendment (Integrity in Sports) Act 2013 (Vic).

[13] Racing Administration Amendment (Sports Betting National Operational Model) Act 2014 (NSW) sch 1, https://www.legislation.nsw.gov.au/#/view/act/2014/25/whole, archived at https://perma.cc/U9MC-VDT2. See also Press Release, George Souris & Gabrielle Upton, New Legislation to Target Match-Fixing in Sport (Mar. 19, 2014), https://www.justice.nsw.gov.au/Pages/media-news/media-releases/2014/new-legislation-to-target-match-fixing.aspx, archived at https://perma.cc/XR7R-RHDB

[14] Match-fixing, Corruption, Gambling, NSW Office of Sport,https://sport.nsw.gov.au/sectordevelopment/ matchfixing (last visited June 19, 2018), archived at https://perma.cc/M4RG-S3Y5.

[15] Betting and Racing Act 1998 (NSW) s 18(1) & (2), https://www.legislation.nsw.gov.au/#/view/act/1998/ 114/whole, archived at https://perma.cc/YG93-4RUG.

[17] Betting and Racing Act 1998 (NSW)s 18A(2) & (3).

[18] Match-fixing, Corruption, Gambling, supra note 14.

[20] Id. s 4.5.6. See also Approved Betting Events, Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation, https://www.vcglr.vic.gov.au/gambling/wagering-and-sports-betting/about-wagering-and-sports-betting/approved-betting-events (last updated May 17, 2018), archived at https://perma.cc/DWS6-TUVS.

[21] Id. s 4.5.8(1)(b). See also Sports Controlling Bodies, Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation, https://www.vcglr.vic.gov.au/gambling/wagering-and-sports-betting/sports-controlling-bodies (last updated May 17, 2018), archived at https://perma.cc/S6KT-TMRN.   

[22] Gambling Regulation Act 2003 (Vic) s 4.5.12.

[23] Id. s 4.5.22.

[24] Id. s 4.5.23.

Back to Top

Last Updated: 07/05/2018