Northern Territory licensed bookmakers will soon be required to cease offering in-play betting through “click-to-call” systems in an attempt to “head off future action by the federal government,” local media reports.
The ban will affect foreign-owned bookmakers who have been offering online in-play betting including William Hill, Sportsbet, Bet365 and Unibet.
According to The Australian, the Northern Territory previously supported in-play betting, saying that Canberra should approve the betting method or risk losing punters to illegal offshore operators.
In a recent 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.
“This action has not been taken lightly, especially in light of the legal advice provided at the time; however, the Northern Territory Chief Minister and Minister Peter Styles consider that taking immediate action on this matter may head off future action by the federal government, which may ultimately result in it taking control of regulation of the online wagering industry,” said John McBride, chairman of the NT Racing Commission.
“By acting now, the Chief Minister hopes that the NT can demonstrate that we are capable of regulating the industry responsibly and without the need for significant federal government interference.”
Federal Human Services Minister Alan Tudge welcomed the move saying it was “consistent with [the] view that the click-to-call (system) [was] is in breach of the federal act.”
The amendment that will ban bets on a sporting event through a “recorded or synthetic voice” is said to apply in 28 days.