Australian Government to Close Live In-Play Betting Loophole
The high profile issue of live in-play betting in Australia is coming to an end after the Federal Government has announced they will close a loophole that has allowed this practice until now. This decision has dealt a major blow to online bookmakers who have been taking advantage of the loophole.
According to the law, in-play betting is banned online and only available via the telephone; however some online bookmakers recently launched a click-to-call function which makes an automated voice call with the click of a button.
Some of the world’s leading gambling operators have been lobbying the Australian government to relax its ban on in-play betting, claiming that Australian punters will simply turn to illegal offshore operators.
However, Social Services Minister Alan Tudge said the government has no intention of expanding the betting market in Australia by legalising live in-play betting.
“The government considers click-to-call in-play betting services are breaching the provisions and intent of the Interactive Gambling Act,” said Tudge. “The government therefore will introduce legislation to clarify the Act as soon as possible.”
He added that he hoped that now the government’s intention had been made clear, that operators offering this service would cease immediately.
The decision has come in response to a review by former premier of NSW, Barry O’Farrell of online gambling in Australia. While anti-gambling activists would like to see a more permanent solution to prevent gambling harm, the Australian Wagering Council has come out against the decision, saying that while in-play betting remains illegal in Australia, “offshore operators will be delighted.”
“Regrettably, the government has decided to maintain the archaic prohibition…despite overwhelming international evidence that access to live betting online is of the key factors in why Australians choose to wager with unlicensed offshore operators,” said Ian Fletcher, council chief executive.
April 16, 2017