The New South Wales government in Australia has been urged to seriously consider a restrained form of licensed and regulated online gambling as a step forward in keeping up with gambling trends, reports the Sydney Morning Herald this week. The newspaper was reporting on suggestions made to the NSW leaders by Alan Cameron, a former chairman of the Australian Securities and Investments Commission.
The call was made in a report on overhauling the betting and racing industry, which has fallen with the rise of internet betting. Boston Consulting Group estimated the NSW government was losing A$14 million a year in gambling tax revenue due to Internet gambling, and the racing industry a possible A$27 million. But against a backdrop of dangerous gambling, the report warns the Rees Government to act with caution so as not to offend "good taste or community expectations".
Allowing betting on the outcome of court cases or sporting tribunal hearings should not be considered, for example.
Cameron advises the government to give a newly constituted Casino, Liquor & Gaming Control Authority the power to select events for betting, "….including political elections and reality television programs". It also calls for a national overhaul of the betting industry to deal with the inroads made by Internet betting.
The veteran businessman wants online betting exchanges such as Betfair, whose Australian operations are part-owned by James Packer, to be allowed to operate in NSW, even though it has been criticised for its limited contribution to the racing industry.
Cameron was tasked with the review a year ago after the Herald disclosed that the then premier, Morris Iemma, had intervened to clear the way for Betfair's entry into NSW. Betfair succeeded in challenging advertising bans in legal action with the West Australian Government, which has opened the door for it to expand its operations.
"It is becoming increasingly problematic for any state to try operating independently with the entry of corporate bookmakers and the cross-border ‘leaking' of revenue," the Gaming and Racing Minister, Kevin Greene, said when making the Cameron review recommendation public this week.