Australian voters are opposed to online in-play liberalization; leaked poll

Liberalizing online gambling laws, including allowing in-play betting will cost the Australian government votes at the next federal election, according to leaked polling results reported by The Australian.

The Crosby Textor polling, which was distributed to a number of federal MPs, showed that 35 percent of voters were less likely to vote for the Coalition Party if it legalized in-play betting. In fact, 33 percent of voters said they were more likely to vote for the government if it strengthened the law on online gambling, according to the poll results.

There was not much support for in-play from government officials either, with one federal minister describing the liberalization of gambling laws on the verge of an election as “madness.”

“The idea of watering down online gambling laws and allowing high-volume online in-play sports betting — turning every mobile phone into an online poker mach­ine — is not politically smart at any time, let alone an election year,” the minister said.

An adviser to an Australian-owned betting company, who was not identified by The Australian said that after close to 50 meetings with MPs and senators in the last three weeks, there was yet to be one that supported online in-play sports betting. “The reality is that the foreign-owned corporate bookies backed by ‘big sport’ have probably won over some policy purist bureaucrats and a handful of advisers,’’ he said.

“However, they have simply not been able to convince those that matter, the elected officials. Why? Because these types of gambling products simply don’t pass the smell test.”