Racing Australia chief executive officer Peter McGauran, has called for a complete ban on in-play betting, both telephone and online, warning the betting method breeds corruption, according to an interview with The Australian.
McGauran reportedly compared in-play betting to “mindless” poker machine gambling, and said it should be banned for all sports, including horse racing. The 2001 act banned live sports betting except via telephone, but allowed bookies to offer it on horse races.
Recently, William Hill made headlines last year with their “Click to Call” live betting offering, which would emulate a telephone call through a Voice Over IP (VOIP) technology. The operator insists the system is legal. “We feel so strongly about the threat that in-play betting poses to integrity that we believe that the loophole in the Interactive Gambling Act that allows in-play betting on races should be closed,’’ he said.
In the Racing Australia submission to the O’Farrell review, the racing association urges the government to “eliminate loopholes currently being exploited by certain Australian-based operators to circumvent the existing prohibition”.
McGauran said that although illegal online betting posed the largest threat to racing in both revenue and integrity, there would be even more revenue losses for the industry if in-play was fully sanctioned. “Apart from the clear and immediate threat to integrity from illegal online bookmaking, the revenue loss over time will significantly damage one of Australia’s leading industries and its 200,000 employees.”
As well as their stance on in-play, Racing Australia wants to also see the blocking of offshore bookmaking sites and for banks to be banned from processing deposits into the accounts of unlicensed foreign bookmakers, as well as making it a criminal offence to bet with an offshore betting company.