This week, SportsBet has released a new ad campaign, reminding punters that it is taking bets for the upcoming election. Local punters can wager on a wide range of markets, including which party will supply the prime minister after the election in September. While punters are excited about the prospect of betting on their political leaders, the country’s politicians are not impressed.
Although betting on politicians is seen as harmless novelty wagering, local politicians are none too pleased with SportsBet and other bookmakers that offer the activity. Senator Nick Xenophon, who is well-known for his anti-gambling sentiments, has come forward to demand that the federal government ban election betting.
“When people can bet on an election outcome then surely there is a risk of corruption in the process,” Senator Xenophon says.
Politicians are privy to certain polling information, giving them a leg-up on the general public. As such, they could take advantage of election betting markets and the same type of corruption that is present in sports could make its way into politics.
If the Gillard government does not heed Xenophon’s warning, he suggests that bookmakers take action and monitor their activity for suspicious wagers. However, sportsbooks may be reluctant to do so. Companies like Sportingbet Australia have stated that they do not believe that political betting compromises the integrity of local elections.
Sportingbet Australia has never had any integrity issues on election betting in the past and does not expect to have any in the future,” says Michael Sullivan, Chief of Sportingbet Australia.