Thursday 18. August, 2016

Australian Wagering Council Disbands Following Withdrawal of Key Members

The lobbying organisation that represents foreign online bookmakers, the Australian Wagering Council (AWC), will cease to operate in its current set-up and will be restructured following a final ruling regarding the banning of online in-play betting and the withdrawal of one of its key members.

In April, following a government report into online gambling in Australia, the federal government decided to ban online in-play betting and close a loophole that allowed online bookmakers to offer this service via a click-to-call function. It is estimated that in-play bets provide around $50,000 in revenue for offshore online bookmakers.

The AWC was founded by Sportsbet and included Ladbrokes, William Hill, Bet365, Betfair and Unibet. Following the ruling, Ladbrokes ceased to offer the feature and withdrew from the AWC.

The organisation launched a campaign to overturn the ruling, but failed and online bookies have been ordered to cease offering the service within the month. William Hill has now decided to withdraw from the organisation.

In response, Ian Fletcher, chief executive of the AWC said in an interview with The Australian: “[It] made the Australian Wagering Council less representative than I would like. I suggested that we use the William Hill departure to consult on a wider, renewed trade body.”

“Other members agree with that analysis and also agreed that we would use the rest of the year to consult on a refreshed organisation. We are doing that actively, but we are now only six weeks into that process so it’s just too soon to talk about where those conversations are heading.”

Fletcher stressed that the restructured organisation would continue to lobby the Australian government on behalf of offshore online bookmakers, pushing for a new national regulatory system and improved legislation on issues such as gambling advertising.

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