Irish-based betting exchange Betdaq (Global Betting Exchange) has abruptly pulled out of the Australian market following an investigation by local media outlet The Australian. A Betdaq spokesman announced that “betting services on Australian races and sports has been stopped. A legal problem has developed. It should be sorted out soon but until further notice we will not be operating on Australian sport.”
The brouhaha began when reporters from The Australian secretly opened an online account with Betdaq, which is not a licensed partner of the Australian Football League, National Rugby League or any of Australia’s horseracing bodies. The Australian claims that their ability to open a Betdaq account makes a mockery of the recent agreement between national sports associations and the government to police the integrity of Aussie sports.
Betdaq is a particular concern for integrity watchdogs because the exchange model allows punters to bet on teams/horses to lose. In response to The Australian’s investigation, Racing Victoria’s Rob Hines and Racing NSW’s Peter V’Landys issued a joint call for legislation that would require Australian banks to block money transfers to non-licensed betting operators. AFL general manager Adrian Anderson backed the racing bosses’ call, but used the incident to issue a plea for lifting the ban on licensed operators taking spot bets, which he said “would ensure punters did not go seeking that option on overseas sites.”
While Betdaq may have pulled Australian fixtures from their menu, other operators are likely to soon fill the void. Sky Racing’s recent deal with UK racing channel At The Races can only boost the Australian racing industry’s profile abroad, and thus further stoke horse bettors’ appetites for betting on the bob-tailed nags.