LADBROKES TO HALT LIVE BETTING IN AUSTRALIA
Shutdown follows order from Northern Territory regulator.
It appears that the mere threat of federal government action against live betting in Australia (despite the current absence of specific legalization) has been enough to cow both the Northern Territory regulator and online gambling group Ladbrokes into submission.
Last week the provincial regulator warned licensees to cease offering in-play betting within 28 days (see previous InfoPowa report) and this has now been followed by an announcement from Ladbrokes that it is to withdraw such facilities from its Aussie offering by the end of this (June) month.
Ladbrokes is one of five overseas betting companies offering Australian punters the in-play "click to call" service, which the federal government plans to legislate against in the near future.
Local media reports suggest that the federal government has also put pressure on the Norfolk Island regulator where Ladbrokes is based and licensed.
William Hill, Sportsbet, owned by Irish giant Paddy Power, Unibet and the privately held Bet365 are expected to comply with the Northern Territory warning.
In a parting shot, Ladbrokes criticised the federal government for favouring home-grown gambling conglomerates Tabcorp and Tatts.
"They really just made their decision on who lobbied the hardest and the loudest that being Tatts and Tabcorp," said Ladbrokes Australian chief executive Dean Shannon.
"If you look at clients who are betting on sports around the world, theyre allowed to bet in-play. And I think in this day and age with people living through their mobiles and online, it makes a lot of sense for people to be able to still bet using the devices they use for everything else."
Although the federal government has warned againt in-play betting following a recent review of the Interactive Gambling Act, it has not specifically amended the Act or given any indication of a timeframe for operators to stop offering the product. Most operators have therefore continued to make the popular facility available.
The Australian Wagering Council, which represents most of the overseas bookmakers, said its members would comply with the law.
From the end June Aussie punters will have to make a specific phone call to place an in-play bet, rather than using the speed and convenience of a mobile app…or they could switch their business to offshore operators unrestricted by Aussie laws.