Tuesday 8. November, 2016

Unibet CEO Weighs Into Australian In-Play Betting Debate

Henrik Tjärnström, chief executive of Unibet, one of the largest gambling operators in Europe, has warned the Australian government that banning online in-play betting will simply push punters to illegal and unregulated bookmakers.

The Interactive Gambling Amendment Bill is expected to pass through parliament in the next few months. One of its primary objectives is to ban online in-play betting and close the loophole that had made it possible for online bookmakers to offer click-to-call in-play services in the past.

Over the past six month, online in-play betting has gradually been removed from online bookie services operating in the country, starting with the Northern Territory government which banned these services by operators licensed in the NT. This left punters only able to place in-play bets over the phone to a retail bookie. However, Tjärnström, has now weighed into the argument and warned that this will result in a boom of unregulated betting in Australia.

“The demand is still there and if the regulated operators can’t offer it and there is no strong enforcement against the unregulated operators, the alternative is always one click away and the customers will find it,” Tjärnström said to The Australian.

“If customers want to do it on their mobile, they will find a way to do it.”

While it is illegal for offshore unregulated operators to offer services to Australian punters, they are beyond the jurisdiction of Australian law and it is not illegal for Australians to place bets with these operators. It has been estimated that thousands of offshore unregulated operators exist that offer in-play betting for Australian sports.

Tjärnström suggested his company may not invest further in Australia due to this over-regulating and pointed out that a country’s regulation needs to reflect the wants of the customer or they will find it elsewhere.

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