• The Major Sporting Events Amendment Act 2013 further empowers police officers to deal with crowd management and ticket scalping. It also expands on the aerial advertising provisions of the Major Sporting Events Act 2009 (Vic).
  • Organisers of major sporting events should be aware that the Minister may now make crowd management guidelines.
  • The Crimes Act 1958 (Vic) has been amended to criminalise conduct that corrupts or would corrupt a betting outcome of an event or an event contingency. Anyone found guilty under these new provisions could face jail time of up to 10 years.
  • In this eBulletin we bring you a brief update of the key changes that will result from the amendments to both these Acts.
Increased powers to better deal with crowd control and ticket scalping

The Major Sporting Events Amendment Act 2013 (Vic) (Amendment Act), which will likely come into effect later this year, improves the operation and effectiveness of the Major Sporting Events Act 2009 (Vic) (MSE Act).

The majority of amendments introduced by the Amendment Act relate to the crowd management provisions of the MSE Act, such as:

  • further empowering police officers and authorised officers to direct a person to leave or not to enter an event;
  • expanding the range of offences which can trigger a ban order; and
  • increasing penalties for infringing the provisions of the MSE Act.

To better control ticket scalping at major sporting events, the Amendment Act creates new ticketing offences relating to the sale or advertising of tickets to events that are covered by an approved ticket scheme under the MSE Act. Police officers will also be given broader powers, including powers to issue on-the-spot fines, seize tickets from a scalper and gather evidence from a person who has bought or is buying a ticket from a scalper.

The Amendment Act also extends the aerial advertising provisions of the MSE Act to apply to additional major events, such as Twenty20 cricket and the ANZAC day AFL match, as well as replays or rescheduled major sporting events.

Organisers of major sporting events should be aware that the Minister may now make guidelines which specify the minimum crowd management standards for sporting events.

New criminal offences for fixing matches, races and other events

The Crimes Amendment (Integrity in Sports) Act 2013 (Vic) came into effect on 24 April 2013. It was introduced to address the threat posed to the integrity of Australian sports by the possible fixing of matches, races and other sporting events.

The Act implements a key objective of the national policy on match fixing in sport – agreed by all Australian governments on 10 June 2011 – to pursue a nationally consistent approach to criminal offences in relation to match fixing and cheating at gambling. As such, the Act is closely modelled on legislation introduced last year in New South Wales and legislation currently before the South Australian Parliament. The changes brought about by the Act will ensure that the law in these three states is closely aligned.

The Act inserts new offences into the Crimes Act 1958 (Vic) in relation to corrupting the betting outcomes of events or event contingencies. The definition of 'bet' is deliberately broad, so as to capture all legal forms of gambling. An event under the Act is not limited to sporting events; it includes any event upon which a bet can lawfully be made. An event contingency includes aspects of an event, other than the result itself, on which a bet may be made, such as the score at a particular stage of a match or the player that scores the first goal or point.

The new offences apply to conduct that corrupts or would corrupt a betting outcome of an event or an event contingency, being conduct contrary to the standards of integrity that a reasonable person would expect. These offences will also apply to people who 'facilitate' corrupt conduct, which includes encouraging someone to engage in corrupt conduct or helping to conceal corrupt conduct from the police or other bodies empowered to regulate betting on an event.

The penalties for the new offences are set at a maximum of 10 years imprisonment.