Tabcorp, Betfair, and Sportsbet Push for Legalized Online Gaming in Australia
Over the past few years, online gambling companies based in Australia lost the ability to offer online gambling services to the Australian audience. Currently, the concern from online gambling operators in the country is that Australians are sending all their funds offshore to foreign gaming sites while local companies are banned from providing the same services.
The Australian online gaming market is one of the largest in the world—online bets seem to be as appealing to the Aussies as kangaroo steak, and it’s only natural that local firms are already in the process of requesting a regulated market in the country.
Online gaming firms Tabcorp, Betfair and Sportsbet submitted reviews of the Interactive Gambling Act 2001 (IGA) stating that amendments that allow Australian-based websites to offer online betting services in the country and to compete with foreign firms should be made.
“Australian consumers of these services would be afforded enhanced consumer protection, tax revenues would remain in Australia and can be used to fund problem gambling programs and research projects and Australian operators will be able to compete with offshore online gaming operators on an even playing field,” read the review submitted by Betfair.
More Concerns Arise in the Industry
Even though the main concern for Australia-based online gaming companies is the uneven ground for competition with foreign firms, more issues have been raised throughout the debate for legalized online gambling. This is not an uncommon phenomenon in the push for legalized online gambling; just as in the US and in various European countries, the online gambling industry in Australia is also concerned with player protection standards and the quality of gaming.
Tabcorp submitted in their review that allowing Australia-based operators to provide online gambling services to Australians “will also enable domestic operators to compete on a level playing field where player protection standards can be assured.”
Companies Claim that “In-the-run Betting” is Key
The firms’ main proposition is that Australian-based websites should be able to offer “in-the-run betting,” which means that customers can place bets once and event has started. They claim that the issue is distant from broader economical and political international issues related to online gaming, as TAB retail outlets already offer “in-the-run” betting, and it can also be obtained via telephone.
“This would achieve the stated goal of platform neutrality, remove a major disadvantage to licensed Australian online wagering operators and allow Australian consumers to bet in the run safely,” stated the review by Sportsbet.
It’s still ambiguous whether regulation will occur for the Aussie market, as it is for the rest of the world. However, seeing firms engaging in smart conversations with the government to address the issue seems to be another step forward for the online gaming industry.
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