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CA to review betting in new TV deal
Ben Horne
18:30 AEST Fri Feb 8 2013

Cricket Australia say they will review their current policy of allowing television rights holders to promote live betting during matches, when they negotiate the new broadcasting deal in the coming months.

However, betting advertising translates to big dollars for television networks and it will be a tough call for CA to negotiate restrictions without government-enforced bans.

For years the increasing prevalence of betting advertisements during sports broadcasts has been controversially linked with problem gambling.

And in light of the Australian Crime Commission's report, pointing to evidence of match fixing in Australian sport, there are new calls for betting ads on television to be regulated.

Agency bet365 is the official betting partner of CA, but in a separate arrangement with Channel Nine, they are permitted to advertise betting options during breaks in play throughout the network's cricket broadcasts.

CA chief executive James Sutherland admits CA need to decide whether it's appropriate for future broadcasters to continue giving betting agencies such a prominent place in the spotlight.

"It's something out of all this we'll be having a closer look at," Sutherland said.

"There's no doubt ... there will be a greater level of scrutiny and question marks about that.

"We'll make our decisions on that in time.

"(At the moment) it's a Channel Nine right. They can do that."

Sutherland said the new broadcasting deal was CA's "number one priority".

The revenue will sustain the game for the next five years and broadcasters will want full value for the big dollars they inject.

CA general manager of communications Ben Armarfio said a government review of the Interactive Gambling Act could take the tough decision out of the hands of sporting bodies in regards to gambling advertising.

"Senator Stephen Conroy and the Federal Government ... will make some decisions as time goes on," Armarfio said.

"In some respects our cards will be dealt for us in that area as to what we can and can't do and we'll operate from there."

However, there is no indication on when such a review would be handed down.

Despite cricket not being specifically named in the ACC report, Sutherland said organisations needed to be "proactive" in addressing the ACC report.

But he also stated there have been benefits for sporting bodies getting into bed with betting agencies.

"It's a real gain in an integrity sense because what we have is an ability to control the types of bets the licence betting operators take on cricket and on top of that they are compelled to share information with us at any stage that we have cause for investigation on suspicious activity," Sutherland said.

"If you don't have those integrity arrangements with betting companies, you wouldn't have that level of protection we are afforded."