Australian "courtsiding" charges against Sporting Data employee lifted

Charges against a British man accused of "courtsiding" during the Australian Open tennis tournament have been lifted.

Twenty-two-year-old Daniel Dobson became the first person to be charged with Victoria's new courtsiding offence after he was found with an electronic device sewn into his shorts and linked to a mobile phone, allowing him to transmit scores in almost real time to his employers ̶ British betting consultants Sporting Data.

But Melbourne Magistrates Court heard last week that there was no reasonable prospect of a conviction and the police and Director of Public Prosecutions have decided not to pursue the charges "based on the circumstances" of the case.

Dobson and his employers stood accused of using the clandestine device to relay the outcome of points in the matches faster than they could travel through official channels, which would lag as much as 10 seconds behind.

This advance knowledge could then potentially be exploited by Sporting Data and their clients, who would be ahead of the game when placing bets and therefore have an unfair advantage.

But Steven High, chief executive of Sporting Data, said that bets are "all determined by the individuals in London and not by the employees on the court", with the company later praising the decision to drop the "spurious" charges.

Victoria Police have warned this should not be seen as an "invitation" to others looking to illegally profit from courtsiding.

Emma Rumney

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