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Online Gambling Operators Fight with Clubs Over Australian In-Play Betting, Consumption Tax

In-play sports betting in Australia

Clubs Australia is up in arms with online gambling operators over the issues of Australian in-play betting, illegal offshore competition, and consumption taxes.

In Australia gambling news, Clubs Australia is urging the federal government to both reject the gambling sector’s push for removing the ban on Australian in-play betting online, and to impose a consumption tax on all online sportsbooks. This is in direct opposition to the desires of overseas betting operators such as Bet365, William Hill, and Sportsbet, who’ve been lobbying for the legalization of in-play wagering and a crackdown on illegal offshore betting companies.

Clubs Australia—an organization representing 6500 licensed clubs in the country—says that the gambling operators’ claim of wanting to become level with illegal competition is just a cover-up for their real intentions: “In Club Australia’s view, Australia’s licensed online wagering operators have used the pretence of competition with illegal offshore wagering providers to extract a range of regulatory concessions from governments with respect to taxation and harm minimisation. Any suggestions that further regulatory concessions, such as live-inplay betting, are warranted due to competitive pressures from illegal offshore wagering operators should be dismissed.”

In addition, Clubs Australia believes that Australia should follow Britain’s suit in introducing a point-of-consumption tax on all overseas online betting operators, wherein operators would pay 15% tax on wager profits placed in Australia regardless of where they’re headquartered. They say that the extra funds generated from this tax would help to fight Interactive Gambling Act violations.

Operators say that not having Australian in-play betting available online is out of date

Australian money

There is $1000 for every person spent on gambling in Australia (Photo: The Australian)

Overseas betting operators dismiss Clubs Australia’s claims that they are trying to usurp Australian gambling laws, and that the legalization of Australian in-play betting online is vital to the modernization of their industry. Under the 2001 Interactive Gambling Act, live match bets placed after the game has begun can only be taken in retail outlets or by phone. The operators argue that in the digital age such services are out of date, and that in order for them to keep up with the times the federal government must permit Australian in-play betting via the internet.

They also insist that the threat of illegal offshore competition is real. CrownBet chief executive Matt Tripp says that Australian in-play betting is critical to leveling the competition and maintaining integrity: “This must involve wagering product parity—including online in-play wagering—between Australian operators and their offshore counterparts, but with the imposition of appropriate safeguards from a responsible gambling and sporting integrity perspective.”

The issues of consumption taxes and in-play wagering are pressing ones, as gambling in Australia is at an all time high. Australians spent a record $6.5 billion on bets in the last quarter, and CBA economist Craig James says that statistically $1000 for every person in the country is spent on gambling.

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