In the House of Lords this week, Lord Moyniham proposed a number of amendments to the UK Gambling (Licensing and Advertising) Bill that both expand the definition of cheating and increase the maximum jail term for match fixing from two to ten years.The amendments are designed to help combat cheating that affects the outcomes of sporting events; however, they will also impact cheating at online poker. The amendment effectively covers collusion to affect the outcome of an online tournament and would make it into a criminal offense.
The Bill is currently in its final stages and it is unlikely that amendments will be accepted unless they carry substantial support. The amendments draw from laws passed last year in the Australian state of Victoria which have since been widely credited with enabling a successful crackdown on corruption in sport.
The amendment was put together after consultation with Britain’s Sports Betting Group. The group has previously recommended criminalising match-fixing and in recent months the idea has gained in popularity.
However, it is thought that the government is reluctant to legislate specifically against match fixing unless there is enough evidence that the existing laws to tackle it are ineffective.