Australian Open: Sporting Data defend employee over 'courtsiding'

Last Updated: 16/01/14 4:03pm

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The Rod Laver Arena at Melbourne Park

The Rod Laver Arena at Melbourne Park

Sky Bet

Sporting Data have defended one of their employees after he was accused of a betting offence at the Australian Open.

Daniel Dobson, 22, from New Malden in London, has appeared in court in Melbourne and been bailed on a charge of engaging in conduct that would corrupt a betting outcome.

Dobson is accused of 'courtsiding' - a form of courtside betting that aims to beat the delays in television coverage of up to 10 seconds long - by reportedly using an electronic device stitched into his shorts.

However, London-based firm Sporting Data, which according to its website is a specialist service provider offering a wide range of products and consultancy services for the online gaming and wagering sector, has released a statement saying no law has been broken.

The statement reads: "One of our employees has been accused of the very serious crime of match-fixing at the Australian Open and we shall do everything we can to fight this grossly unfair accusation.

"Sporting Data has never been and never will be involved in any illegal betting or any other illegal activity whatsoever and take a serious view of any allegations that they have.

"Sporting Data has never been and never will be involved in any type of match-fixing. We encourage a more proactive stance against those who are involved in match-fixing."

The company claims Victoria Police are applying a new law incorrectly and says the actions only mirror the data transmitted by the umpires and used by bookmakers.

The statement adds: "The new Victoria State Law (CRIMES AMENDMENT (INTEGRITY IN SPORTS) ACT 2013) is a very good law and we welcome it. We want matches to be as straight as possible.

"However, this law is being applied entirely inappropriately here. As we see it, it is up to the Victorian Police to demonstrate that this sending of information in some way 'corrupts or would corrupt a betting outcome of an event or event contingency'. In other words, that somehow, what we are doing affects the match in some way. There is no way we could conceivably be affecting how the match pans out.

"What our employee on court was doing is exactly what umpires do. They send information from the court back to other organisations that use it to profit from betting. In this case, the organisations are bookmakers and it is done through the tennis authorities' agreement with Enetpulse. However, the principle is identical."

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