Though Australia’s Productivity Commission recently suggested in an official report that steps be taken to liberalize Australian gambling laws, the government has rejected all such proposals at present. And Australia-based Sportsbet has something to say about it.
As earlier as October, the Productivity Commission stated that the Australian government should repeal the highly restrictive 2001 Interactive Gambling Act so that Internet betting in Australia could be controlled and taxed. In late June, the commission made that official in its final report, stating explicitly that “state governments [should] not renew retail wagering licences [to Australian monopolies Tatts Group and Tabcorp] when most of them expire between 2012 and 2016.”
Upon hearing of the government’s rejection, Paddy Power-owned Sportsbet commercial director Cormac Barry released a statement saying that “They perhaps should have another look at the report as it makes some very valid points. There is no doubt that any concerns the government has about responsible gambling in an online environment would actually be addressed if they embraced these recommendations.”
Sportsbet was recently involved in a court case in Australia against Tabcorp in a dispute over monopolistic practices. Sportsbet won that case, then proclaimed to be a “victory for online sportsbooks.” Today, they may be rethinking this opinion.
Australian gambling laws are fairly restrictive at present, with only government-approved providers legally allowed to provide Internet poker, casino gaming and sports betting in Australia. Most Australians play at online casinos based offshore which are of course unregulated and untaxed. Some estimates say that over $1 billion will be spent at such websites by Australians in 2010.