Sports betting is big business in Australia and that makes the country a prime target for match-fixers, organized crime and other unsavory elements. But the Aussie government is looking to stay several steps ahead of the bad guys with the introduction of powerful new agency called the Sports Betting Integrity Unit.

The new commission should be up and running by the summer of 2020 and has been granted wide ranging powers to investigate any potential game-fixing schemes it runs across. Its sweeping powers, according to a report on Aussie news site Stuff, includes the authority to conduct electronic surveillance on potential match-fixers. This includes athletes, coaches and bookmakers who are potentially involved in rigging games or doping athletes.

Credit for the commission is generally being given to former police corruption royal commissioner James Wood, whose reports on this matter inspired lawmakers to take a deeper look at the issues that are troubling the Australian sports world.

The Sports Betting Integrity Unit will also work with Austrlia’s anti-doping agency to help insure that all athletes competing in the country are playing on a level field, when it comes to drug use anyways.

Australia’s efforts to reign in potential problems in the sports betting market via government agencies stands in stark contrast to what is happening in the emerging United States’ sports betting market. In that market, professional sports leagues have been asking states to turn over part of the revenue from sports betting taxes to fund integrity efforts that are run by the leagues themselves. Why multi-billion dollar industries like professional football need taxpayers to fund their integrity efforts is another question entirely.

So far, Austrlia’s professional sports leagues seem to welcome the new commission and see it as a significant new tool in their efforts to keep their games clean.

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