Melbourne Police Make Gambling Arrest for “Court-Siding”

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“It’s certainly the first time it’s (legislation) been used in tennis in Victoria and I’m not aware of a (tennis) example anywhere in the world where courtsiding has been able to be dealt with in a criminal setting,” Deputy Commissioner Graham Ashton said.

Bob Larson

January 16, 2014 –  Not that long ago there was a bookmaker’s tent situated on the grounds of Melbourne Park and the on-line betting website Tab Sportsbet was one of the minor sponsors of the Australian Open.

tennisgamblerBut the hard line against gambling in tennis took more force as a British man accused of secretly transmitting scores from courtside in order to help gambling associates beat delays in TV coverage, appeared at Melbourne Magistrates Court.

Daniel Dobson was charged with ‘court-siding’ or illegally gambling from the bleacher seats, in what is believed to be the first prosecution of its type worldwide. He is believed to have used an electronic device, discreetly stitched into his shorts, to transmit scoring information.

Melbourne prosecutor Joe Diemar told magistrates that Dobson hoped to beat the delays incurred by television coverage, which can be up to ten seconds long, in order to get ahead of changes in the live betting odds in Australian Open matches.

courtsideDiemar alleged these were relayed to an international betting company and according to the Melbourne Magistrates Court official charge sheet, the accused ‘did engage in conduct that corrupts or would corrupt the betting outcome of an event’.

Dobson was caught on CCTV transmitting scores from Court 2 at Melbourne. He was arrested late on Tuesday afternoon and appeared in court earlier today (Thursday).

Due to legislation only introduced eight months ago court-siding is illegal in the Australian state of Victoria and the offence carries a maximum ten-year jail sentence.

tennisgambler2It is understood two additional British men, who arrived from Britain at the weekend specifically for the season’s opening Grand Slam, are also likely to be charged.

According to Diemar and the Melbourne Police Dobson is part of a gambling syndicate that would benefit from getting the outcome of points ahead of others betting ‘live’ on matches. However Dobson’s defense lawyer maintained his client was sending data to an international betting company with the idea that it would help them set odds as the matches progressed and fluctuated.

Dobson, was given bail after the case was adjourned for a week and was told to stay in an unnamed Melbourne hotel while keeping away from the Australian Open. He was also ordered to surrender his passport.




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