Wednesday 15. June, 2016

Ladbrokes the First Bookie to Withdraw its In-Play Betting Product in Australia

Ladbrokes is the first International bookmaker that has agreed to pull down its live in-play betting product from Australia, following a government ban announced in April. Ladbrokes is one of five International operators to offer the product, but is the first to commit to withdrawing it.

In April, following a review of online gambling in the country, the government announced that it would close a loophole that allowed online in-play betting. According to the Interactive Gambling Act 2001, in-play betting is only available by telephone or in person in betting shops; however, a number of online bookmakers offered a click-to-call feature that made automated phone calls, making in-play betting available via the website.

The government banned this product and called on the bookmakers to pull down the features. However, none of the bookies had complied, despite Human Services Minister Alan Tudge requesting that they pull the service immediately to comply with the spirit of the law. In fact, William Hill, Bet365 and Unibet have continued to publically promote their products. Last week, the Northern Territory Racing Commission ruled that bookmakers need to cease offering the service to prevent future action.

In response, Ladbrokes has confirmed that “as a show of good faith” they will withdraw their service by the end of this month. However, the company argued that the ban is simply to provide an advantage to Australia’s two major bookies, Tabcorp and Tatts.

“They really just made their decision on who lobbied the hardest and the loudest; that being Tatts and Tabcorp,” said Dean Shannon, chief executive of Ladbrokes Australia.

The bookies have also argued that punters will just move to illegal offshore bookmakers for this service. “We’d like to give our clients a full offering and not have them go offshore to satisfy their betting requirements,” added Shannon.

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