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10 June 2011

Australian Crackdown On Sports Betting And iGaming Cont..., by Greg Tingle - 10th June 2011


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Australia's gambling sector continues to run at red hot levels, with igaming now attracting a great amount of headlines, on par with sports fixing concerns. Increasingly Australian gambling companies are looking to build up their operations, while in many cases do their best to keep away outsiders. Media Man and Gambling911 once again probe gambling's igaming and sports betting sectors...

Australian Gambling Firms Look To Solidify Position; Crackdown On Offshore Sports Betting And iGaming...

One of Australia's top online gambling firms is calling any legislation on exotic gambling options to include a tightening of controls on online poker and online casino games.

Australia's top 4 online gaming websites: Betfair, Centrebet, Sportsbet and Sportingbet yesterday - Thursday got behind new initiatives to red sport of match-fixing. Ambitious, but bold... we know. This follows the lead of international operators also looking to wipe out sports betting rorts such as Bwin.Party Digital Entertainment.

Betfair chief exec Andrew Twaits advised online poker websites, which he thinks cost the industry hundreds of millions of dollars per year, should also be part of new legislation.

"While it is pleasing to see both the federal and state governments taking the integrity of betting in sports seriously and on a united front, the present legislation is clearly not working when it comes to online poker," Twaits told the press.

"Online sports betting in this country turns over $300 million a year, is highly regulated and we pay our taxes, while operators of online poker sites are not, many of which are controlled and run offshore.

"That's the real challenge facing not just the federal and state governments of this country, but governments across the globe.

"It is estimated that the turnover in this and other forms of illegal betting is $125 billion worldwide. That's why as an industry we welcome any tightening of the present legislation in this country of the Victorian Integrated Gambling Act.

"The sooner the rest of the states and territories fall into line the better it will be for everyone."

It's understood that some companies with roots in Australia cover the sports betting and igaming sector as just one or two of other industry sectors they cover, such as entertainment, financial, technology, property and community. Website portal operators have been quick to notice the igaming affiliate sector and some firms also offer media and publicity services to the gambling giants, both in Australia and offshore, with political consultation being a growing part of the online business landscape. Marvel Entertainment and Paramount Pictures have been fast movers to jump into the igaming business, with existing strong brands to leverage, plus a ongoing movie release plan which assist business development and positive news media exposure. Some igaming firms from offshore also continue to ink deals with Australian sports brands like the AFL and NRL.

The call for reform comes as ministers for sport from the federal, state and territory governments meet on the Gold Coast today to address issues of preserving the integrity of sporting events.

Sportingbet Australia chief executive, Michael Sullivan, called yesterday on pro sports under the Coalition of Major Professional and Participation Sports umbrella to employ full-time supervisors to closely examine betting trends. The AFL employs an integrity officer, and the NRL is expected to soon follow their lead.

The coalition represents the AFL, ARU, NRL, Cricket Australia, FFA, Netball and Tennis.

"The NRL could take a leaf out of the AFL's book on this issue. They seem to be dragging the chain a little," Sullivan told journalists.

"We've seen on the issue arising from the North Queensland investigation that the checks and balances we as an industry already have in place actually do work.

"As for the NRL asking for an industry-wide ban on exotic bets, that's fine, but our figures show that the average bet on the first and last try scorer is just $9.

"That wouldn't buy you a schooner of beer in some pubs in Fremantle.

"Betting on cricket matches in this country isn't a problem. The trouble starts with the sheer weight of money bet on games in India and Pakistan where the industry is either illegal or nowhere near as regulated as you find it here in Australia.

"All we are asking for as a collective is a level playing field."

Major Australian traditional and new media companies including News Limited, Fairfax Media, Network Ten, Nine Entertainment Company, FremantleMedia, and Media Man are continuing to watch the situation closely and often report their finding to some of Australia's leading politicians and sports heads, while gaming giants Bwin.Party, Virgin Games, NextGen Gaming, IGT and PKR continue to monitor Australian developments extremely closely, with some starting to focus more energy into cross promotions, entertainment portals and virtual worlds, until some of the grey areas of sports betting and igaming down under get cleared up.

Readers, good punting, know your limits and have fun.

Punters, er readers, stay glued to Media Man and Gambling911 reports for more "can't miss" information on Australian pokies, gaming and casino wars.

*Media Man is primarily a media, publicity and internet portal development company. They cover a dozen industry sectors including gaming. Media Man also publishes Media Man News

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