Friday August 26,2011 : Could latest federal court finding have wider implications Downunder?
 
In Australia a recent federal court decision has the Victoria territory in an uproar after its law banning online betting kiosks was overturned, creating wider implications that could impact other Australian states.
 
The case involved the use of Sportsbet's internet betting kiosk Betbox, which connects players in land locations like retail shops to the Sportsbet website, thus allowing them technically to gamble online.
 
Late last year, Sportsbet and the Eureka Hotel contested the state's Gambling Regulation Act 2003, and their arguments were upheld in the federal court as discriminatory on constitutional grounds, to the chagrin of the Victorian Commission for Gambling Regulation (VCGR), the State of Victoria and betting company Tabcorp.
 
Betbox is operated via touchscreen technology and connects to the Sportsbet website, allowing the user to place a bet in Victoria through the online bookie, which is licensed and regulated in the Northern Territory.
 
Because the decision could open up the market to similar operators and technologies, and impact both land retailing and the horse racing contributions flowing therefrom, Tabcorp has intimated that it intends to lodge an appeal. The intentions of the VCGR and the state of Victoria are not presently clear.
 
This is not the first time that the Victorians have clashed with Sportsbet over online kiosk activity. Back in 2009 the company's Venuenet offering was seized as an illegal and unauthorised betting instrument by the VCGR (see previous InfoPowa report).
 
Further afield, the Cameron Report recommended that retail bookie kiosks should not be permitted in New South Wales, a suggestion which the state government accepted and acted by widening legalization prohibiting "remote access betting facilities", which it defined as any device – a computer terminal or telephone included – that is used primarily or exclusively for betting.
 
Presumably the federal court's finding in the Betbox case could be applied for the overthrow of this state law, too.