Sporting Data has accused the Victorian Police of applying the law “entirely inappropriately”. Photo: Getty Images
The employer of a British man arrested at the Australian Open for allegedly “courtsiding” has defended his actions and accused the Victorian Police of not correctly applying new laws put in place to protect against sports corruption.
Daniel Thomas Dobson, 22, faced the Melbourne Magistrates Court on Thursday following his arrest after a match on Tuesday. Mr Dobson allegedly hid an electronic device in his shorts that was linked to his smartphone and allowed him to relay the outcome of individual points to an international betting agency.
Police prosecutor Josh Diemar said Mr Dobson sent the agency the results before they could get them through the official channels. He said that had the ability to affect betting odds.
But London-based company Sporting Data released a statement overnight saying they would “do everything we can to fight this grossly unfair accusation” levelled against its employee.
Sporting Data admitted to employing individuals who sit courtside and relay information to London. This data is then used to place bets on a match.
The company said it uses mathematical models to assess the probability of a match outcome and cannot rely on “out of date” television broadcasts.
“Bets will be placed when the odds generated by the model are significantly out of line with the market,” the company said.
“A lot of syndicates use a similar methodology. Clearly, we need the most up to date information to generate accurate match probabilities.”
The company said most of the bets based on this information are placed on betting exchanges. The
Crown Resorts-backed Betfair is an example of a betting exchange. On an exchange a punter can only make a bet if there is another individual on the platform that will accept the alternative outcome.
“It is the tightest and most competitive environment there is and we have invested a lot of time and effort to become competitive,” the company said.
Mr Dobson has been charged with one count of engaging in conduct that would corrupt a betting outcome. The alleged crime comes under new laws introduced last year by the Victorian government that created a new offence for anyone found to “engage in or facilitate any conduct that corrupts or would corrupt a betting outcome of a sport or racing event resulting in financial advantage”.
Law applied ‘inappropriately’
However, Sporting Data has accused the Victorian Police of applying the law “entirely inappropriately”. It said neither Mr Dobson nor the company had an interest in “corrupting the outcome of a match”.
“Our models fail to work if the result is any way compromised and we would take all steps to avoid betting on any match we suspect to be corrupted.”
“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.”
The company added an “interesting side note to the discussion” to its statement, by saying that what its employee was doing mimics the job of umpires.
“They [umpires] send information from the court back to other organisations that use it to profit from betting,” the company said. “In this case, the organisations are bookmakers and it is done through the tennis authorities’ agreement with Enetpulse. However, the principle is identical.”
Mr Dobson’s case has been adjourned until January 23 to allow both sides to prepare for the charge, the first of its kind under the new legislation.
The Victorian Police was not immediately available for comment.