ACMA takes action on SportsBet’s in-play service

The Australian media watchdog will soon be pursuing legal action over SportsBet’s in-play gambling app, local media reports.

The Australian wagering operator, which was recently found to have the highest level of brand awareness among Australian customers, allegedly offered punters to place bets during the course of a match through their mobile app.

Online “in-running” bets are banned under current law. However, firms found a way around this with ‘click-to-call’ software, which utilizes a punter’s computer microphones to place a ‘phone bet’. However, the federal government made moves to close this loophole following its review of online law.

Last month, in an attempt to “head off future action by the federal government,” the Northern Territory government sent a letter to its licensed bookmakers, requiring them to cease offering in-play betting through “click-to-call” systems. The ban affected foreign-owned bookmakers who had been offer­ing online in-play betting including William Hill, Sportsbet, Bet365 and Unibet.

In the letter to the licensees, the Territory said as the federal government has vowed to stamp out live betting online, it has no choice but to order a halt to avoid “federal interference” in the sector.

The ACMA’s moves are of particular threat to SportsBet, which recently signed a sponsorship deal with National Rugby League worth A$60 million (US$44.8 million).