Anti-gambling activists in Australia are upset with a locally-run internet gambling company called Luxbet, which offers an online sportsbook in Australia. Luxbet recently announced to its members that they are offering a credit option, allowing punters to wager money they don’t have. This controversial new scheme has many groups frustrated.
In an email sent around to existing Luxbet customers in Victoria, the bookmaker asked if they wanted to open an online credit account. The message reads:
“Have you ever watched a horse race, seen your selection win and thought, ‘If only I had funds in my Luxbet account?’ If that’s the case, then maybe a credit facility is the answer for you.”
Mark Zirnsak of Victoria’s InterChurch Gambling Taskforce is extremely dismissive of the idea, calling the offer “predatory behavior”. It seems the group feels that Luxbet is targeting punters who do not have the financial means to bet on sports event.
Luxbet’s new credit manager Keith Lamb of course backs the plan. He says that credit is negotiated with each customer on an individual basis, and is given out at the bookmaker’s discursions.
Nothing in Australian gambling laws explicitly prohibits the offering of gambling credit, but Luxbet is owned by Tabcorp, which has actually been banned from offering credit betting.
“They wouldn’t dare do it directly as Tabcorp, but it would appear they are allowing a subsidiary to do it,” says Zirnsak. “At the very best it looks like it is trying to exploit a legal loophole.”
Tabcorp has campaigned for the national regulation of credit betting but has yet to be successful in bringing attention to the issue.