By Andy Young

The Australian Hotels Association has welcomed the Federal Government’s response to the review of illegal offshore wagering, which was delivered by the Hon Barry O’Farrell.

The government has strengthened the ban on online in-play betting on sports and banned credit betting, a move welcomed by AHA CEO Stephen Ferguson who told TheShout that the decision helps to create a level playing field between online and retail wagering.

Ferguson told TheShout: “The current online gambling environment is basically unregulated in comparison to the heavily regulated state environment. Our Pub Tabs and gaming areas are subject to very strict conditions, regarding bans on lines of credit and the discouraging of excessive gambling.

“Those consumer protections are not available on the internet. The Federal Government has to be commended for putting place a regulatory regime that will attempt to create a level playing field between the online and retail environment.”

The reforms from the government will see pubs and clubs retain the right to make in-play bets, but the current ability to bet in play over the phone via 'Click to Call' will no longer exist.

Ferguson added: “Importantly, the Government recognised the need for consumer protections for online gambling and the need to strengthen existing laws against illegal operators.

“The decision to maintain the prohibition of ‘online in play’ gambling will be welcomed by the vast majority of Australians.

“‘Click to call’ in play betting is clearly a breach of the intent of the Interactive Gambling Act and the Government is commended for its intention to block the current loophole.”

“The foreign owned corporate bookmakers should cease the practice immediately.”

Tabcorp also welcomed the decision, with CEO David Attenborough saying: “The Government has addressed a number of areas to provide better protection for consumers and the community and to start creating a more level playing field for wagering operators in Australia.

“Online betting on live sport is an illegal form of wagering in Australia. It is pleasing that the Government has removed any doubt about its legality, addressing the activity of those wagering operators who have been circumventing the law.

“Tabcorp also supports measures which crack down on unlicensed offshore operators. Their activities pose a threat to racing and sports integrity, deprive our governments and racing industries of income and disregard consumer protection.

“Tabcorp will continue to work with the Government in the creation of a national wagering regulatory framework. Areas such as consumer protection and the growth in advertising, as well as wagering taxation, need a national approach.

“These issues matter as wagering is a large and important industry in Australia. As well as being a significant employer, wagering funds the racing industry and provides a significant source of revenue for government through taxation and licence fees.”

The Shout Team

The leading online news service for Australia's beer, wine, spirits and hospitality industries.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *