Gambling Commission want info from bookies

The Gambling Commission will hope to take steps today towards securing the open sharing of information relating to the betting habits of sports stars.

The Commission will meet with those from the industry to discuss various matters relating to sports betting and hope to see those accounts owned by sport stars flagged if their betting breaches their rules and regulations.

Much has been made of betting scandals in sport, none more so than that involved in English football. Concerned that insider information is being used to profit from betting, Harry Redknapp, Portsmouth manager, was asked by the Football Association (FA) last year to disclose all phone records and bank statements covering the period of his controversial move from arch-rivals Southampton after £16.7 million was traded on the betting exchange website, Ultimately, no charges were brought against Redknapp or anyone connected to him.

However, bookmakers believe that openly sharing information is going too far and that the new Gambling Act due to be introduced in September will be enough to protect sports from cheating. Then there is also the issue of the sharing of personal information between two parties violating the Data Protection Act.

Nevertheless, the commission hope to reach some kind of compromise which would involve tracking the betting activity of all punters, not just sports stars, who place large and suspicious bets.

"Our proposal is that we should introduce a licence condition that would require licensees (gambling companies) to take a risk-based approach with all reasonable steps to identify customers who place bets over a significant threshold limit, either in one bet or over a number of transactions in one day," the commission said in a consultation document.

The commission have made it clear that gambling companies do not require their customers to agree to their personal information being shared as a condition of service, but there could be advantages for those that did.

“We therefore suggest that, while we will not require, through a licence condition, that betting licensees make it a condition of business that a customer must agree to personal information being made available to the sport governing bodies, there may be advantages for licensees in including such terms as a condition of their business," the commission said.

In addition to this desire, the commission will also attempt to persuade bookmakers to hand over a percentage of their revenue gained from markets they have on sporting events. The commission would then use some of this cash to regulate the sports.

Tom Kelly, chairman of the Association of British Bookmakers (ABB) who is leading the bookmakers, is hopeful some middle ground will be reached.

"With goodwill I'm sure we can reach a solution," he said.

Editor, - 2007-04-05 11:29:34

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