Monday 13. June, 2016

Northern Territory Orders the End to In-Play Betting

Australia’s Northern Territory is putting an end to in-play sports betting, dealing a major blow to online bookmakers that offer this service. The Northern Territory Racing Commission (NTRC) has ordered its licensees to cease offering the service within 28 days in order to “head off future action by the federal government.”

In April, following a governmental review of the Interactive Gambling Act 2001, the government announced they were closing a loophole that allowed in-play betting online through a click-to-call service. According to the Act, in-play betting is only legal in person or by telephone, but these online features made an automated phone call online.

However, while it was announced that in-play sports betting would no longer to be allowed, no new regulations were drawn up and no timeline was given for withdrawing the service. Despite being requested by Human Services Minister Alan Tudge to cease offering the service immediately in the spirit of the law, bookmakers William Hill, Unibet, Sportsbet and Bet365 continued to offer it.

“By acting now, the chief minister hopes that the NT can demonstrate that we are capable of regulating the industry responsibly and without the need for significant federal government interference,” stated John McBride, chairman of the NT Racing Commission.

Mr Tudge welcomed the move by the Northern Territory, ensuring the government will work to introduce an amended law if re-elected.

“I welcome the decision of the Northern Territory,” he said. “The Northern Territory government’s actions are consistent with our view that click-to-call operators are breaching the law.”

“Our policy is clear that if re-elected we will introduce laws as soon as possible to clarify the Interactive Gambling Act, crack down on illegal overseas operators and introduce a package of consumer protections.”

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