Tuesday 3. May, 2016

Big Bookies Ignore Government’s In-Play Betting Ban

The Australian federal government has called on major bookmakers to cease offering live in-play betting services immediately; however, their call has been ignored. The government announced they would ban live in-play betting in Australia as part of an overhaul of the online gambling industry in the country.

According to the Interactive Gambling Act 2001, in-play betting is only legal via telephone or retail outlets; however a number of major bookmakers were making use of a loophole in the law to offer this service as a click-to-call feature on their websites, allowing instant online wagers during sporting events. Many major bookmakers have been lobbying the government to relax its restrictions, saying that Australian punters will simply turn to illegal and unregulated offshore operators if they have no access to the service in Australia.

However, a recent government report rejected this and the service has been banned with Human Services Minister Alan Tudge calling on bookies to cease offering the feature immediately to comply with the intent of the law.

Chief executive of Sportsbet, Cormac Barry said the government has let down both sporting codes and punters and claims that the government is simply pandering to “lazy old-fashioned, monopoly” operators which do not offer the feature.

Big bookies such as William Hill are ignoring the ban for now, assuming that the government will not be able to change the law before the beginning of the 2016 spring racing carnival in Melbourne or the National Rugby and Australian Football League finals.

Chief executive of the Australian Wagering Council, Ian Fletcher went one step further to say: “If the government is going to ban one type of interactive technology, it must ban them all – otherwise the effect of the proposed legislative action will be to protect some wagering companies at the expense of others.”


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