How the ICC are tackling illegal gambling for Cricket World Cup 2015

Published 25 November 2014 By: Judith Miller

Cricket Batter and Catch

The cricket world is in a fierce battle against the increasing use of technology in illegal bookmaking. In order to protect their interests ahead of the World Cup starting in February 2015, the International Cricket Council (ICC) is entering into agreements with the Federal Police in Australia and across the ditch in New Zealand. One such agreement is a memorandum of understanding between the ICC and Australian Federal Police, which allows for the sharing of information between the two entities.

Part of the ICC crackdown on illegal bookmaking and match fixing involves placing a “gag” order on groundsmen from Australia’s premier cricketing venues such as the SCG and the Adelaide Oval. Recently, groundsmen from all around the world were flown to New Zealand to attend a meeting where they were warned to stop giving out detailed information about the pitches before matches. Traditionally, groundsmen openly spoke about the pitches that they produced in the lead up to a match. They would supply information about everything from whether they would prefer to bat or bowl first or whether they thought the pitch might favour a particular side. No longer can groundsmen do such things, the ICC is well aware that the information ultimately ends up in the hands of the gambling community prematurely.

The strategy also includes focusing on ejecting “pitchsiders” who attempt to take advantage of live overseas betting markets as a result of slight delays that occur when broadcasting games overseas. Pitchsiders are a relatively new group within the illegal bookmaking world that transmit play-by-play data from their seats to illegal bookmakers all over the world. This year alone police ejected two men from the second test between Australia and Pakistan in Abu Dhabi after it was suspected they were feeding information over mobile phones to illegal bookmakers. Victoria Police have also investigated a British man who was using a laptop from his seat during a Big Bash League game.

The recent measures taken by the ICC open up an interesting discussion on who owns the rights to the opinions of those involved with organising matches as well as the game data itself. What is certain is that the cricketing world is taking corruption seriously as a result of match fixing scandals that have brought the game into disrepute. The success of these measures will be interesting to monitor.

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Judith Miller

Judith Miller

Judith is a partner at DLA Piper Australia. Judith is the head of the Sports, Media & Entertainment sector in Australia and she has considerable experience advising clients in the entertainment, film, television, music and media industries. Judith advises on all aspect of brand management and exploitation, including advertising and marketing agreements, sponsorship and trade promotions.
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