Monday, February 29, 2016 : AUSSIE POLITICIANS WARY OF EXPANDED ONLINE GAMBLING
Crosby Textor poll delivers some interesting results.
Attempts by Australian online betting groups to liberalise betting laws, especially those concerning in-play betting seem to be running into increasing opposition that includes the political establishment.
Reports in major Aussie newspapers over the weekend warned that expanding gambling could have negative consequences for politicians in an election year, and reproduced the leaked results of a recent Crosby Textor poll to back up the assertion.
One unnamed federal minister told reporters from The Australian newspaper:
“The idea of watering down online gambling laws and allowing high-volume online in-play sports betting is not politically smart at any time, let alone an election year.”
The Crosby Textor poll, which has reportedly been distributed to federal MPs, is said to put pressure on the Coalition federal government to tighten regulations and stop the use of work-arounds that have been used to offer in-play betting by major foreign-owned companies like William Hill, Ladbrokes, Bet365 and Sportsbet.
The results of the study show that 35 percent of voters would be less likely to vote for the Coalition if it legalised in-play betting, and 33 percent would be more likely to vote for the government if it strengthened the law and its enforcement.
73 percent of respondents said they would support the government in enforcing the in-play rules more vigorously, and 65 percent indicated they were in favour of closing the present legal loopholes that allow in-play betting…and 61 percent vowed to oppose any move to make in-play specifically legal.
The anonymous minister attacked “greedy” sports bodies pushing for in-play liberalisation, and opined that there was no advantage for government to assist foreign-owned bookmakers.
“Even gamblers do not like these guys,’’ he said. “Why should parliament lift a finger to help Tom Waterhouse and a couple of UK and Irish bookies make more money? It is simply ludicrous.
“The fact that the greedy professional sports codes want to raise money from turning sportsmen and sportswomen into gambling commodities makes a lot of people uncomfortable.
“They already have billion-dollar TV rights deals and get everything they want from government, including new stadiums worth hundreds of millions of dollars.”
Ranged against those who want to see in-play legalised are the racing industry, pubs and clubs, and major listed domestic gambling groups like Tatts and Tabcorp.
One unnamed lobbyist for a gambling company told The Australian that after close to 50 meetings with MPs and senators in the past three weeks, they were yet to find one politician who supported the introduction of online in-play sports betting.