Saturday 16. July, 2016

Sportsbet In-Play Betting App Referred to Federal Police

Australia’s gambling operator, Sportsbet, has been referred to the Australian Federal Police by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) over its in-play betting app, Bet Live.

The Paddy Power Betfair-owned Sportsbet launched their Bet Live app in January. Following a complaint against the app, the ACMA investigated whether the click-to-call service could violate the Interactive Gambling Act (IGA) 2001 by allowing customers to place bets during a live sporting event.

By filing the complaint, the ACMA has reopened its case against in-play betting functions despite its complaints filed last year against William Hill, Ladbrokes and Bet365 to the AFP being dismissed.

The IGA restricts in-play betting to wagers placed in a betting shop or over the phone. A number of bookmakers launched in-play betting services that utilised click-to-call functions and following a crackdown by the government, they were recently ordered to remove the service from their sites. However, the Sportsbet app utilises an actual phone call to place the bets, which the company insists makes it legal.

“While Australian bookmakers’ live betting products differ, having taken eminent QC advice, Sportsbet maintains that as Bet Live is only available on mobile telephone devices and conducted via a voice call, it is wholly compliant with the Act,” stated Adrian Ryan, general counsel for Sportsbet.

Last month, the Northern Territory Racing Commission (NTRC) which grants licenses to most of the Australian online operators, announced that all operators must close their in-play betting service by July 8. However, just last week, the NTRC sent a new letter to licensees requesting that the operators participate in a consultation process to determine the final decision regarding the service. Some believe this means that the NTRC will continue to allow the operation of the in-play betting functions until they are forced to shut them down.

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