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Courtsiding is the practice of transmitting information from sporting events for the purpose of gambling, or of placing bets directly from a sporting event. It has been observed as occurring most prominently, although not exclusively, in tennis. It arises as a result of the delay and latency between the actual venue and digital or satellite transmission of the event via television or IPTV broadcasting. The latter mode of delivery is specifically exploited, as most of the courtsided matches are low-to-unseeded tennis matches of no interest to a television network or viewers, and often receive only Internet distribution with a minimum (often unattended and automated) television camera setup.

Legal issues[edit]

The procedure takes place when a spectator at a sporting event passes on, or uses, information which leads to bets being placed on 'in-game markets' before the bookmakers receive the information, and change the odds due to the in-play happening.[1][2]

It has been claimed that courtsiding was illegal in Victoria, Australia, in 2013; with it comes a prison sentence of up to 10 years under the Integrity In Sports Act. It had been alleged to be an offence under the Gambling Act 2005. Chris Eaton opined, that match fixers had turned to courtsiding due to it being "easier to accomplish".[3] The UK Gambling Commission, however, have subsequently confirmed that courtsiding is not considered an offence in the UK.[4]

Craig Tiley, CEO of Tennis Australia, later said that it could "arguably could be illegal, maybe some cases legal", and the chairman and CEO of the tour said that he felt it was not a major issue.[5]


At the 2013 Australian Open, there was a case of courtsiding, but the necessary legislation needed in order to commit an arrest was not in place.[6][7]

The first arrest for courtsiding was at the 2014 Australian Open when a 22-year-old British man, Daniel Dobson, allegedly had an electronic device sewn into his shorts, in order to relay scores to a syndicate.[8][9] Dobson's employers, Sporting Data, denied any involvement in illegal betting or any other illegal activity, issuing a statement that condemned Dobson's arrest as a "grossly unfair accusation".[10] The case was withdrawn on the 6 March 2014.[11]

The England and Wales Cricket Board released the fact that in summer 2013 there were 23 people ejected for what was believed to be courtsiding.[3]

At the 2016 US Open, 20 spectators were caught courtsiding and were placed under bans that prohibited them from attending the tournament for 20 years; one of the individuals kicked out in 2016 was arrested for trespassing after being spotted at the tournament in 2017.[12]

During the 2020 French Open, Spanish tennis player Gerard Joseph Platero Rodriguez was suspended for four years and fined $15,000 after being convicted of courtsiding, the first player to actually be charged with the offense.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Australian Associated Press (15 January 2014). "Australian Open: man charged with courtside betting". The Guardian. Retrieved 19 January 2014.
  2. ^ Cox, Simon (22 April 2015). "Why tennis 'courtsiding' was my dream job". BBC News. Retrieved 22 April 2015.
  3. ^ a b Rumsby, Ben (16 January 2014). "Sport on alert after first arrest for 'courtsiding'". The Daily Telegraph. pp. S8.
  4. ^ "Sporting Data Reviews 'Courtsiding' After Australian Open Arrest". Gambling Compliance. 20 January 2014. Retrieved 20 January 2014.
  5. ^ Cambers, Simon (21 January 2014). "Tennis-'Courtsiders' court controversy at Australian Open". Reuters. Retrieved 22 April 2015.
  6. ^ Newman, Paul (15 January 2014). "Australian Open 2014: British man arrested in connection with alleged illegal betting syndicate suspected of 'courtsiding'". The Independent. Retrieved 4 February 2014.
  7. ^ Ransom, Ian (15 January 2014). "Tennis-Man held for 'courtsiding' at Australian Open". Reuters. Retrieved 4 February 2014.
  8. ^ Rumsby, Ben (16 January 2014). "Sports betting firm denies match fixing in 'courtsiding' charge storm". National Post. Archived from the original on 6 February 2014. Retrieved 4 February 2014.
  9. ^ Bishop, Greg and Martin, John (21 January 2014). "Tennis's New Concern: Data Harvesting". The New York Times. Retrieved 4 February 2014.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  10. ^ "Sporting Data". 16 January 2014.
  11. ^ "'Courtsiding' charge withdrawn against British man arrested at Australian Open". The Guardian. 6 March 2014. Retrieved 6 March 2014.
  12. ^ Rothenberg, Ben. "Man Barred From Open Last Year Is Arrested After Returning", The New York Times, September 2, 2017. Accessed September 2, 2017. "The United States Tennis Association announced on Friday the arrest of an Estonian man who violated a no-trespassing order by returning to the United States Open after having been ejected from the tournament last year.... Piirimets was ejected from the Open last year for what is known as courtsiding, a term for collecting immediate data about the scores of tennis matches in person and then using the information to make wagers, either by placing bets directly or by transmitting the information to someone else.... Piirimets was one of 20 people (17 men and three women) caught courtsiding at the U.S. Open last year."