Internet Betting Blocked in U.S. Open Tourney
December 2, 2008 (InfoPowa News) — Network World reports that the U.S. Tennis Association used web filtering software to halt Internet betting access on its website. The Association's U.S. Open tournament provides network access for the players, guests, and media, but this year an extra security step was taken to make sure that access wasn't too open.
"We didn't want people at the event to have access to gambling sites," says Larry Bonfante, CIO of the U.S. Tennis Association (USTA), about the decision to add Web-filtering to the network supporting the event at the Billie Jean Tennis Center at Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, N.Y.
Bonfante is proud the sport is considered "above board" and "squeaky clean," and filtering out access to gambling sites is a proactive step taken to head off any trouble, he says.
More than a year ago, there were rumblings that a low-seeded tennis player might have thrown a match; that rumor had USTA management and its IT department mulling the issue of gambling. With more than 21,000 individuals credentialed to be at the U.S. Open — with secure network access available to them in addition to their issued site credentials — the question was whether it would be a good step to prevent access to online gambling in general, Network World reports.
This year, with Web-filtering installed at the tennis tournament, the USTA determined there were 17,000 attempts to reach online gambling sites during the course of the two-week event. "What the rationale there was for all this, we don't know," Bonfante says.
Around the world, particularly in Europe and Asia, there may be different legal approaches to online gambling, Bonfante says. But as far as the USTA is concerned, blocking online gambling sites has simply become a "business requirement" to keep the tennis event, which this year was attended by 720,000 people in all, in good showing.