Legalizing online in-play betting in Australia poses a threat to racing industry and sports integrity, according to racing and hotel sector figures.
The Australian Government has commissioned a review of its online gambling laws, which could pave the way to legalize online in-play betting on horse racing and other sports. However, Racing NSW chief executive Peter V’landys, together with Tabcorp and the hotel industry, have warned the government of in-play betting’s potential negative impact.
“Expanding online live betting into sport by amending the IGA (Interactive Gaming Act) would harm the racing industry, local hotels and community clubs. Estimates suggest lost revenue of up to $10 million a year for the racing industry and licensed venues,” said Tabcorp in its submission to the inquiry.
Tabcorp’s chairwoman Paula Dwyer sees the review as a great opportunity to provide clarity on in-play betting on live sports.
“The government review offers an opportunity to redefine the type of online wagering industry we want to have in Australia and to set the standards within which all operators must work,” Dwyer said during the company’s annual meeting. “We want this review to bring some clarity and much-needed uniformity and we will be making a formal submission.”
The Australian Hotels Association (AHA) suggested that the “speed of in-play betting on sport or racing can be relatively controlled in the retail and telephone environment (where it is currently legal) and should not be extended to the online environment where the speed of betting is uncontrolled.”
“It is understood that the online bookmakers want the prohibition of ‘online in-play’ wagering on Australian sport lifted. Part of their argument is that many consumers are already betting online in play with illegal operators,” added AHA “In other words if you can’t beat them, join them. To our mind, that is a weak argument.”
Aside from leading customers away from traditional betting on raving, V’landys also believes legalizing in-play bets poses a threat on sports integrity because match-fixing will be more prevalent.
The Australian Wagering Council (AWC) has already participated by submitting a study conducted by H2 Gambling Capital, calling for the legalization of the online in-play betting, adding that unchanged regulations would see the country lose AUD2.3 billion in profit by 2020.