Briton charged with illegal courtside betting at Australian Open
A British man appeared in a Melbourne court on Thursday charged with illegal courtside betting at the Australian Open tennis tournament, as police warned of the need to crack down on the practice.
Daniel Dobson, 22, was arrested after a match on Tuesday following information received by Tennis Australia and passed to police.
Prosecutors allege he used a device concealed in his shorts and attached to his mobile phone to send out live match data in a practice known as “courtsiding”.
This allowed him to wirelessly relay the results of points won in the match to an international betting agency in real time, the Melbourne Magistrates Court heard.
Reports cited police prosecutor Josh Diemar as alleging Dobson sent the results before they were available through official channels, which he claimed had the ability to affect betting odds.
He has been charged with one count of engaging in conduct that would corrupt a betting outcome and was bailed to reappear on January 23 to give the defence and prosecution time to prepare their cases.
Dobson is the first person charged under new Victorian state legislation aimed at cracking down on spot-fixing and other illegal betting practices.
Victorian Deputy Police Commissioner Graham Ashton said police would continue to monitor closed-circuit television and courtside activity throughout the year’s first grand slam.
“It’s pretty tricky to try to identify it,” he said, adding that it was crucial to crack down on the practice.
“As we’ve seen overseas, courtsiding is only really one step away from them contacting players and getting engaged in more illicit and more sinister types of sports corruption.
“As a precursor to that, we believe that courtsiding is something that has to be taken particularly seriously.”
Those convicted face a jail term of up to 10 years in Australia.