This week, Ladbrokes Australia customers received emails informing them that Ladbrokes.com.au would now operate under a license issued by the Northern Territory Racing Commission (NTRC), the licensing jurisdiction of choice for most Aussie online betting operators. The new license takes effect on Sept. 28.
Ladbrokes’ northern shift comes just a few weeks after betting exchange Betfair Australia announced that it was relocating its licensing HQ from Tasmania to the NTRC. In Betfair’s case, the move was prompted by NT politicians passing exchange betting legislation that featured extremely favorable tax and license fees.
Ladbrokes’ motivation appears to have been less about saving a few bucks and more about fearing the fate of the company’s existing licensing jurisdiction. Until recently, Ladbrokes.com.au was licensed by the Norfolk Island Gaming Authority (NIGA), which in April was stripped of its license-issuing powers.
The NIGA got itself into trouble by licensing racing operator BetHQ, which went on to ink a ‘white label’ deal with Asian online betting exchange CITIbet – a site that has been publicly excoriated by Australian racing bodies and the Hong Kong Jockey Club for not helping to prop up the dying racing industry.
For the moment, all NIGA-issued licenses remain valid but a Ladbrokes Australia source told eGaming Review that the “uncertainty” around the NIGA’s future – and Lads’ desire not to piss off those NIGA-hating racing bodies – played a major role in the company deciding to cozy up to the NTRC.