Wednesday, October 26, 2011 : With a review of the Interactive Gambling Act taking place, operators are hoping for some changes.
Australian operators are hoping for a more logical approach to online gambling as the government studies a review of the Interactive Gambling Act, reports WA Today.
The newspaper points out that overseas internet sports betting companies are now playing a growing role in the Australian market, naming Sportingbet’s takeover of Centrebet; Paddy Power’s acquisition of Sportsbet; and the Betfair fifty percent joint venture with a top Aussie land gaming group.
All of these companies offer ”in-the-run”, ”push button” or ”live” wagering, a method of betting that WA Today predicts will grow.
Aussie regulations can be confusing: In-the-run betting on horse racing is allowed in Australia online, via phone and at retail outlets, such as TABs, under the Interactive Gambling Act.
Tabcorp offers it only on the Melbourne Cup.
”Live betting on racing is difficult in Australia because the majority of our races are sprint races and over in 60 to 90 seconds,” says Tabcorp's general manager of corporate affairs, Nicholas Tzaferis.
”That does not make it conducive to live betting, unlike an AFL or NRL game, which plays out over 80-plus minutes.”
But the Interactive Gambling Act bars internet in-the-run betting on AFL (Australian Football League), NRL (National Rugby League) and all sports other than racing.
It's permitted only by phone, or at retail outlets, or to overseas gamblers.
WA Today rightly opines: “Allowing phone use is an anachronism and the concession to overseas punters is an anomaly, considering the foreign ownership of Australian betting institutions, including Tabcorp, where the majority of its top 20 shareholders are offshore, principally Hong Kong and the US.
“The Act is under review and it's a fair bet it will be amended to allow internet betting, despite the risk of an increase in gambling.”