Tuesday 1. December, 2015

Major Professional Sports are Pushing for Legalised In-Play Betting

The Coalition of Major Professional and Participation Sports (COMPPS), which includes football, cricket, tennis and netball are supporting a push by leading bookmakers to allow in-play betting in licensed and regulated Australian markets. They believe this move will help to reduce the threat imposed by illegal offshore operators.

South Australian Senator and anti-gambling campaigner Nick Xenophon has accused these sports of making money more important than the welfare of their fans by promoting addiction and more problem gambling.

Senator Xenophon stated that the sports codes are “facilitating more addiction, more problems amongst their very fans and also, increasing the risk of a major betting scandal that will deeply damage the integrity of their sporting codes.”

COMPPS believes that a significant step in eliminating illegal offshore betting would be to allow online in-play sports betting with licensed operators.

“I really think their argument is quite pathetic; to say that illegal online casinos are doing it, therefore they should be allowed to do it as well,” countered Xenophon. “The solution is to clamp down on those illegal, online casinos and destroy their business model by disrupting their financial transactions.”

The Australian Hotels Association is also fiercely against allowing online in-play betting. According to the 2001 Interactive Gambling Act, in-play bets can be taken over the phone or at retail betting shops for horse racing, but not other sports. The Association argues that removing the restrictions would shift betting away from horse racing to other sports and that the racing industry and pubs would be impacted the most. Tabcorp, Australia’s largest betting company is also wary of allowing online in-play betting, despite lost revenue to offshore operators.

These issues are all being considered in the O’Farrell review which will be submitted to the federal government this month.

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