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'Courtsiding' charge brought against Briton dropped

MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Australian prosecutors have withdrawn a 'courtsiding' charge brought against a British man at the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne, local media reported on Thursday.

Melbourne police arrested Daniel Thomas Dobson, 22, at the tournament in January and charged him with one count of "engaging in conduct that would corrupt a betting outcome".

'Courtsiding', or placing bets illegally on spot events to corrupt gambling markets, invariably involves a syndicate, with a spectator using an electronic device to send a signal to another person at another location.

Courtsiders exploit the seconds between the action on court concluding and the scores reaching the outside world via the umpire's digital scorecard to place bets before legitimate betting agencies are able to close off wagering on a specific event.

Dobson, the first person charged under new legislation in Australia's southern state of Victoria, was not at the Melbourne Magistrates court on Thursday, having returned to Britain, the Australian Associated Press said.

His lawyer had applied for costs, the agency said.

(Writing by Ian Ransom; Editing by Greg Stutchbury)