Failing to regulate the growing sports betting market would push Aussie punters onto the international black market and would cause the Australian government to lose up to AUD2.2 billion ($1.6 billion) in tax revenue by 2020.
The Barry O’Farrell-led review is focused on how to combat the negative effects of international online gambling sites offering services to Australian gamblers and their ability to offer in-play sports wagers, which the 2001 Interactive Gambling Act (IGA) restricts to telephone or retail wagering outlets.
However, Tatts Group Chief Executive Robbie Cooke thinks that this is just a bluff from international companies to gain a new source of revenues in the Australian market.
“There’s no members of the community here agitating to get rid of the IGA,” said Cooke in his first public comments on the review. “This is completely the creation of Northern Territory-based, UK or Irish wagering companies agitating the Australian government to remove the IGA for their own profit driven motives.”
Cooke also wants a validation on data showing that Australian punters have wagered over $1 billion on 2200 illegal offshore sites each year.
“The suggestion there is all this money flowing offshore, I think is a false premise,” Cooke told the Sydney Morning Herald. “I think [there’s a] big lie in this.”
Cooke admitted that online in-play betting could drive more revenue for his company, but as good as it may seem, relaxing the restrictions could damage the racing industry.
Tatts mirrored the position of another local Australian gambling operator Tabcorp along with other racing and hotel sector companies. Tabcorp estimates suggest lost revenue of up to $10 million a year for the racing industry and licensed venues.