Sports clubs in the state of Victoria have issued a ban on mobile devices at the sports matches in fear of illegal bets. It is believed that the overseas betting syndicates are targeting the games from the grassroots level.
The Victorian amateur sport body said the clubs have been receiving mysterious phone calls with different inquiries. It is believed that the anonymous callers inquire about injuries, team rosters and they want to know about the upcoming fixtures.
The associate professor from Victoria University, Dennis Hemphill, said state bodies have reported a rapid increase in random phone calls to amateur club searching for information. Apparently the callers hang up when asked to identify themselves.
There have been reports from a range of lower sporting leagues citing that the foreign bookmakers have been offering the clubs some compensation for influencing the outcome of the matches. The federal police ran an investigation, but nothing concrete came out of it.
Also, on the semi-professional South East Basketball Association, there have been bets placed at matches by Geelong, Bendigo and Frankston through SBOBET, a website operating in Asia and Europe.
It is believed that the syndicates target different sporting codes as a few suspects have been spotted at the basketball events illegally “court-siding’’.
The illegal sports betting market going big in junior sports.
The Victoria University and the state government have commissioned the landmark report saying amateur sports clubs need help detecting and policing the corruption to help root it out. This is to be presented to the sports integrity forum in Melbourne.
The basketball Victoria body has already warned all its members to watch out for the court-siders and it is recommended that they report it to the police.
According to the report by the Victoria University, there is a betting market operating in the junior sports and an agency goes hunting for the information for the upcoming matches so that its clients may place the illegal bets.
Prof Hemphill said: “Some clubs are banning mobile phones.”
Sports Minister John Eren said, parents and role models should “educate youngsters about the risks that can be associated with the sport.”