Sport New Zealand chief executive Peter Miskimmin says allegations of illegal betting by teams in the National Basketball League would be of serious concern to his organisation.
Miskimmin is the head of the Crown entity that governs sport and recreation in this country and said maintaining the integrity of sport was of paramount importance.
"Back in 2015, we made it a criminal offence to manipulate the outcome of a game for personal gain," said Miskimmin "It's a very serious matter ... we got legislation through Parliament just before the Cricket World Cup."
When contacted by the Herald on Sunday yesterday, Miskimmin said he was not aware of any specific allegations but would expect Basketball New Zealand (BBNZ) to undertake a full investigation.
"If there are allegations, they would worry me," said Miskimmin. "They would need to be investigated appropriately. Basketball New Zealand needs to answer those questions and I will be interested in how they investigate that and what allegations have been put forward and what comes out of it."
Sports betting has grown significantly in New Zealand over the past two decades. It was first introduced in 1996, though initially it was limited to rugby, league, motorsport, billiards and snooker.
Today, more than 30 National Sports Organisations (NSO) have a contract with the TAB to allow betting on their sport, with around 20 per cent of total wagers paid as a dividend back to the NSO.
Sport New Zealand also receives a small dividend.
"Every sport have their own policy and a code around sports betting," said Miskimmin.
"It is clearly understood that players should not be betting on themselves, or even on games in the league that they are in.
"That applies to coaches and any other individuals associated with the teams in championships where there is betting.
"If that is an allegation, I'm sure Basketball New Zealand will be investigating that, as [that] would be contravening the rules and policies of that code."
Miskimmin admitted the worldwide growth in sports gambling and the availability of markets on small scale leagues such as the NBL, ISPS Handa Premiership football and domestic cricket meant that governing bodies had to be vigilant.
Sport New Zealand had taken a three-step approach to safeguarding sport.
"The first was the legislation. The second thing is that we have asked all sports to adopt an anti-match fixing policy, which provides the rules around what can't be done. The third factor is education throughout the sports, to make players aware of their rights and responsibilities," he said.
"[But] the sports are the ones that deal with it, and they have the rules and penalties that go along with that and it is their jurisdiction.
"Clearly the integrity of sport, and ensuring that games can't be manipulated by those playing it, is a critical component to the values that we all hold dear in sport. That's why integrity is really important to us."