Norfolk Island Stripped of Power to Grant International Gambling Licenses
The Australian federal government has clamped down on the power of the Norfolk Island Gaming Authority (NIGA) to award gaming licenses to international operators after it licensed a controversial operator last year.
The Australian racing industry was exposed to worldwide ridicule after NIGA licensed betting exchange BetHQ to place bets on Australian racing, exposing the country to Philippines-based CitiBet, the biggest illegal bookmaker in the world.
The Minister for Territories, Paul Fletcher, took the unprecedented step on Thursday of intervening in racing administration and revoking the island’s authority to provide gaming licenses to International operators.
“We welcome the quick intervention by the federal government for which we are most grateful,” commented Peter McGauran, CEO of Racing Australia.
“The minister has acted decisively to repair the reputational damage to Australian racing by the actions of Norfolk Island.”
“Racing Australia will make a submission into the government inquiry into the future of the Norfolk Island authority, in which we will call for its permanent disbandment given its ability to properly assess applicants for wagering purposes.”
According to the directive, the authority will undergo a full audit of its previous decisions, protocols and procedures. The audit will begin in July and is expected to take three months, during which time the authority will need to cease activity.
In addition, the authority will not be able to issue or renew gaming licenses and “requires the authority to seek approval from a delegate of the commonwealth minister before performing certain other functions such as varying a license or transferring a license.”
Chief executive of the Australian Wagering Council, Ian Fletcher, said: “Australian consumers, racing and sports bodies and the legitimate onshore wagering industry itself must have confidence in the licensing and regulation of wagering providers and the government’s proposed audit of the NIGA is welcomed.”
April 16, 2017