Australia Bans In-Play Sports Betting

In-play betting on sports via the internet is illegal in Australia, but allowed if conducted by telephone or from a retail outlet. The sector is worth around $3 billion of the country’s $20 billion-a-year wagering market, but numerous operators with official licenses have tapped into the lucrative market by exploiting loopholes in the law.
Some of the biggest flaunters have been licensed companies, such as William Hill and Ladbrokes, who have skirted the law by using Click to Call betting app which allow punters to confirm their in-play bets using voice recognition technology. However, the federal government has now strengthened the ban by calling on operators to cease the practice, in addition to introducing a package of measures designed dry up their illicit business. This includes banning credit betting which accounts for almost one-third of some gambling operators’ sales, as well as proposed fines and travel restrictions for offenders, and possibly even ISP and payment blocking measures.
Commenting on the latest development, the Social Services Minister Alan Tudge said that the country had enough gambling problems already, and that the government had no intention of further expanding Australia’s online betting market by legalizing online in-play betting. In the meantime, the government’s move has attracted criticism from those who see it as a way of protecting home-grown gambling companies, such as Tabcorp and Tatts Group, from unwanted competition. Commenting on the matter, Sportsbet CEO Cormac Barry stated:
“I think it’s a win for the lazy, traditional monopoly wagering operators in Australia who are more interested in protecting their monopoly than giving consumers what they want. It is a sad day for Australian consumers and I think the big winners today are the illegal offshore operators who will be able to continue to operate uninhibited.”

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