International Bookies Sidestep In-Play Betting Ban

Global bookmakers have failed to adhere to a ban on in-play betting in Australia, say reports. Online in-play betting has been banned by the Australian Government, though several international bookies have been flouting the ban by allowing customers to bet in-play via “click-to-call” facilities and other methods. The country’s Human Services Minister Alan Tudge has described methods to flout the ban as being “against the spirit of the law, if not the actual law”. Mr Tudge has said that he expected bookies to stop offering in-play betting immediately.

Credit betting was banned at the same time as online in-play sports betting. However, in-play betting via the phone and in retail outlets remains legal – for now. A number of overseas operators have continued to offer in-play betting despite the ban, with some continuing to promote in-play betting publically. The ban came into force after Australia’s online gambling industry was the subject of a review by former New South Wales premier Barry O’Farrell. Pressure has been placed on the Government to modernise or even replace the 2002 Interactive Gambling Act to reflect the modern ways punters are placing bets.

A letter penned by Mr Tudge said the Government would not allow the online betting market to expand. The letter also said online betting agencies offering “click-to-call” features to get around the ban were breaching the Interactive Gambling Act 2001. He said: “Legislation will be introduced as quickly as possible to make the law unambiguous to all providers. We made clear in our response that we do not intend to further expand the online betting market in Australia by legalising online in-play betting.”

Australian companies like the Tatts Group and Tabcorp have complained about their overseas rivals gaining an unfair advantage, with various key figures from the horse racing industry also showing concern. Some international companies have argued that the practice remains legal whilst the loophole remains open and have described the current legislation as “archaic”.