Tuesday 5. April, 2016

Norfolk Island Gaming Authority Comes Under Attack

The Australian racing industry is up in arms over the power that the Norfolk Island Gaming Authority (NIGA) has and the impact of their actions on the Australian racing industry. The industry has called for NIGA to be stripped of all its powers or to be merged with Racing NSW.

The demand has come after NIGA granted a license to BetHQ to operate in Australia, despite evidence that the betting exchange is an agent for the largest illegal operator in the world, Citibet, which is based and licensed in the Philippines.

NIGA licensed BetHQ to bet on Australian racing in March 2015. As part of Australia’s racing jurisdiction, a license by NIGA allowed BetHQ to bet on all Australian races and allowed them to make deals with all major sports.

A relationship between BetHQ and Citibet came to light when BetHQ was discovered not to have paid its Victorian racefield fees since September. Upon closer investigation, it was discovered that BetHQ was acting as an interface for Citibet.

It is estimated that around $930 billion was wagered on horse racing across the globe in 2015, with $650 billion of that coming from illegal offshore operators such as Citibet. According to a submission by the Hong Kong Jockey Club to the Australian government’s review of offshore gambling, Citibet held 8 percent of the turnover on Australian racing.

Racing Australia’s chief executive, Peter McGauran expressed the anger in Australia that NIGA has “effectively licensed the world’s biggest illegal bookmaker,” saying, “It is beyond belief that an island 1,400km off the coast of Australia with a population of 1,800 people can make decisions that affect a multi-million dollar business with 200,000 employees.”

Racing Australia is now calling on the government “to disband the NIGA or merge it with Racing NSW.”


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