'Courtsiders' court controversy at Australian Open

Wed Jan 22, 2014 12:24am EST
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By Simon Cambers

MELBOURNE (Reuters) - It's the climax of a grand slam singles match and everyone in the crowd is on their feet clapping and cheering - with the exception of one man who remains firmly rooted to his chair.

His interest in the score is as intense as the other spectators but his priority is to transmit the result of each point to someone often several thousand miles away via an electronic device in his pocket.

Meet the "courtsider", someone whose purpose is to exploit the seconds between the action on court concluding and the scores reaching the outside world via the umpire's digital scorecard.

He might be placing bets on matches from the side of the court himself or sending live scores or statistics to a third party, who can use the information to bet for themselves or their clients.

Getting their information out a few seconds earlier gives them the opportunity to bet before the odds are adjusted by the bookmakers or on betting exchanges like Betfair.

Bookmakers know all about the time delay, of course, and that is why they do not allow customers to gamble on the following point with most of the betting in these situations done on the outright match market.

Courtsiding came into focus at this year's Australian Open when a 22-year-old British man was arrested on the second day of the tournament and charged with "engaging in conduct that would corrupt a betting outcome".

Daniel Dobson will appear again at Melbourne magistrates on Thursday.   Continued...

Daniel Dobson, a 22-year-old Briton arrested during an Australian Open 2014 tennis match at Melbourne Park on Tuesday, leaves Melbourne Magistrates' Court January 16, 2014. REUTERS/Brandon Malone