Australia: Australia - Online Gambling Regulation in 2011 - Extracts Published in February 2011 Edition of World Online Gambling Law Report

Last Updated: 30 March 2011
Article by Ashleigh Fehrenbach
For a full annotated version, download PDF (42kb)

Government Oversight

While some may have thought the release of the Australian Productivity Commission's long-awaited report into gambling in June last year would have meant the end of government inquiries into the gambling sector for some time, it appears it is only the first of many.

As a condition of an agreement between the federal Labor Party and the independent MP Andrew Wilkie which enabled the Labor Party to form government, the newly formed Government has created a joint select committee on gambling reform. This is a permanent parliamentary committee, comprising members from both houses of Parliament and all major parties. The committee has commenced with an inquiry into pre-commitment systems for electronic gaming machines but has signalled its intention to look at gambling and sport as well as online gambling in due course.

In the wake of widespread opposition to its proposal to introduce a mandatory Internet filtering scheme, the Government requested the Australian Law Reform Commission to commence a review of the national classification system before any further actions were taken on Internet filtering. Although the Commission will consider in its review issues other than gambling, if the Government maintains its determination to impose a filter that relates to the classification system, gambling may still be affected.

In addition to inquiries that may take place at the Federal level, there are further inquiries taking place at the State and Territory level. The New South Wales Law Reform Commission has announced it will conduct an inquiry into cheating in gambling (particularly relating to sports bookmakers), Racing Victoria Limited has announced an inquiry into race field fees and the Australian Capital Territory Independent Competition and Regulatory Commission has released a draft report on the ACT racing industry (which also comments on race fields fees).

Internet Filtering

As noted above, further action on mandatory Internet filtering has largely been delayed while the Law Reform Commission considers the national classification system.

However, Senator Stephen Conroy, the Minister for Communications, announced recently that moves by three of the largest telecommunication providers in Australia (Telstra, Optus and iPrimus) to impose voluntarily some form of filtering on their respective users was proceeding.

Wagering Market

There remains a frenzy of activity around the Australian online wagering market. Rumours that leading overseas providers (following the example of Paddy Power) will move into the burgeoning Australian market remain in the press while competition between the corporate bookmakers for market share appears to be ever increasing.

In November, Centrebet, one of the largest corporate bookmakers in Australia, announced a new marketing initiative aimed at increasing its market share among Australian punters. So far, this has resulted in major sponsorship deals being signed with Australian rugby league and Australian Rules football teams. While there has been no concerted response from other corporate bookmakers at this stage, Centrebet's actions appear to have spurned greater marketing efforts directed at sporting sponsorships from casinos in Sydney and Melbourne.

Advertising and Marketing

The increasing profile of gambling operators through sporting sponsorships has raised questions in the media about the level of advertising and marketing that should be permitted by gambling operators. This is likely to receive significant attention in the months ahead.

As the Federal Government attempts to step up regulation of electronic gaming machines (either directly or in cooperation with the States and Territories), we anticipate there will be calls for greater harmonisation of gambling regulation and greater levels of harm minimisation. This could result in certain forms of advertising being restricted or prohibited.

Race Fields

While concerns about advertising have dominated the headlines since the beginning of the year, race fields will return to the agenda when the High Court of Australia hears the special leave applications from Sportsbet and Betfair. Both parties were on the receiving end of adverse decisions in the Full Federal Court in November 2010 regarding their separate claims relating to the legality of the New South Wales race fields regime and the approvals that had been granted.

The special leave applications are expected to be heard on 11 March 2011[1]. If the applications are successful, the matters will proceed to appeal before the full bench of the High Court during 2011. If the applications are rejected or the appeals dismissed, it will be the end of the line for these claims.

However, this may not mean the end of race fields litigation. Sportingbet Australia launched its own case against the race fields fees last year and that matter has been stayed pending the outcome of these proceedings. Should Sportsbet and Betfair be unsuccessful in their claims, Sportingbet's matter will proceed.

Sporting Fixtures

Renewed concerned about integrity in sport has prompted talk of harmonising laws relating to gambling on sport. At present, Victoria is the only State that requires wagering operators to enter into integrity agreements with authorised sports controlling bodies. Representatives of major professional sports in Australia have recently held discussions with the Federal Minister for Sport about enacting similar legislation to cover all States and Territories.

While ostensibly concerned with ensuring the integrity of sport is protected, these agreements also provide a means by which sports controlling bodies can receive a payment in exchange for the use of sporting fixture information by wagering operators. Although most major wagering operators have entered into agreements at a national level with such bodies (notwithstanding the absence of any legal obligation to do so outside Victoria), the negotiating position of the controlling bodies would be enhanced considerably if national legislation existed (or if all States and Territories adopted legislation similar to Victoria). This is likely to be important if sports controlling bodies seek to move away from the current gross profits fee benchmark that they have negotiated at present to a turnover-based fee.

Recent reports have stated that the Federal Sports Minister will be taking these proposals to a IOC seminar in March[2] with the recommendation that similar measures to preserve the integrity of sport should be introduced at the international level


While race fields litigation may be winding down, wagering operators are not showing any signs that they are wary of further court battles. Last year, Sportsbet began proceedings against the State of Victoria over restrictions prohibiting its installation of betting terminals in hotels[3]. Retail betting exclusivity has long been the cornerstone of the dominance of totalisators in Australia and, were Sportsbet to be successful, it would result in dramatic change for the industry.

Growth to Continue

While considerable regulatory uncertainty persists, growth is likely to continue in the Australian online gambling market (in both the online wagering and gaming sectors) during 2011.

The assistance of Michael Camilleri, solicitor, of Addisons in the preparation of this article is noted and greatly appreciated

[1] Special leave has been granted by the High Court in respect of both matters.

[2] Senator Mark Arbib gave a presentation to a Forum organised by IOC on 4 March 2011.

[3] A hearing on this issue commences in the Federal Court in Melbourne on 11 April 2011.

For further information please contact:

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Some comments from our readers…
“The articles are extremely timely and highly applicable”
“I often find critical information not available elsewhere”
“As in-house counsel, Mondaq’s service is of great value”

Mondaq Advice Centre (MACs)
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Check to state you have read and
agree to our Terms and Conditions

Terms & Conditions and Privacy Statement (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd and as a user you are granted a non-exclusive, revocable license to access the Website under its terms and conditions of use. Your use of the Website constitutes your agreement to the following terms and conditions of use. Mondaq Ltd may terminate your use of the Website if you are in breach of these terms and conditions or if Mondaq Ltd decides to terminate your license of use for whatever reason.

Use of

You may use the Website but are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the content and articles available (the Content). You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these terms & conditions or with the prior written consent of Mondaq Ltd. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information about’s content, users or contributors in order to offer them any services or products which compete directly or indirectly with Mondaq Ltd’s services and products.


Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the documents and related graphics published on this server for any purpose. All such documents and related graphics are provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers hereby disclaim all warranties and conditions with regard to this information, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information available from this server.

The documents and related graphics published on this server could include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. Changes are periodically added to the information herein. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers may make improvements and/or changes in the product(s) and/or the program(s) described herein at any time.


Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.

Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.

If you do not want us to provide your name and email address you may opt out by clicking here .

If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of products and services offered by Mondaq by clicking here .

Information Collection and Use

We require site users to register with Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to view the free information on the site. We also collect information from our users at several different points on the websites: this is so that we can customise the sites according to individual usage, provide 'session-aware' functionality, and ensure that content is acquired and developed appropriately. This gives us an overall picture of our user profiles, which in turn shows to our Editorial Contributors the type of person they are reaching by posting articles on Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) – meaning more free content for registered users.

We are only able to provide the material on the Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) site free to site visitors because we can pass on information about the pages that users are viewing and the personal information users provide to us (e.g. email addresses) to reputable contributing firms such as law firms who author those pages. We do not sell or rent information to anyone else other than the authors of those pages, who may change from time to time. Should you wish us not to disclose your details to any of these parties, please tick the box above or tick the box marked "Opt out of Registration Information Disclosure" on the Your Profile page. We and our author organisations may only contact you via email or other means if you allow us to do so. Users can opt out of contact when they register on the site, or send an email to with “no disclosure” in the subject heading

Mondaq News Alerts

In order to receive Mondaq News Alerts, users have to complete a separate registration form. This is a personalised service where users choose regions and topics of interest and we send it only to those users who have requested it. Users can stop receiving these Alerts by going to the Mondaq News Alerts page and deselecting all interest areas. In the same way users can amend their personal preferences to add or remove subject areas.


A cookie is a small text file written to a user’s hard drive that contains an identifying user number. The cookies do not contain any personal information about users. We use the cookie so users do not have to log in every time they use the service and the cookie will automatically expire if you do not visit the Mondaq website (or its affiliate sites) for 12 months. We also use the cookie to personalise a user's experience of the site (for example to show information specific to a user's region). As the Mondaq sites are fully personalised and cookies are essential to its core technology the site will function unpredictably with browsers that do not support cookies - or where cookies are disabled (in these circumstances we advise you to attempt to locate the information you require elsewhere on the web). However if you are concerned about the presence of a Mondaq cookie on your machine you can also choose to expire the cookie immediately (remove it) by selecting the 'Log Off' menu option as the last thing you do when you use the site.

Some of our business partners may use cookies on our site (for example, advertisers). However, we have no access to or control over these cookies and we are not aware of any at present that do so.

Log Files

We use IP addresses to analyse trends, administer the site, track movement, and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. IP addresses are not linked to personally identifiable information.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that Mondaq (or its affiliate sites) are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of these third party sites. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this Web site.

Surveys & Contests

From time-to-time our site requests information from users via surveys or contests. Participation in these surveys or contests is completely voluntary and the user therefore has a choice whether or not to disclose any information requested. Information requested may include contact information (such as name and delivery address), and demographic information (such as postcode, age level). Contact information will be used to notify the winners and award prizes. Survey information will be used for purposes of monitoring or improving the functionality of the site.


If a user elects to use our referral service for informing a friend about our site, we ask them for the friend’s name and email address. Mondaq stores this information and may contact the friend to invite them to register with Mondaq, but they will not be contacted more than once. The friend may contact Mondaq to request the removal of this information from our database.


This website takes every reasonable precaution to protect our users’ information. When users submit sensitive information via the website, your information is protected using firewalls and other security technology. If you have any questions about the security at our website, you can send an email to

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user’s personally identifiable information changes (such as postcode), or if a user no longer desires our service, we will endeavour to provide a way to correct, update or remove that user’s personal data provided to us. This can usually be done at the “Your Profile” page or by sending an email to

Notification of Changes

If we decide to change our Terms & Conditions or Privacy Policy, we will post those changes on our site so our users are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it. If at any point we decide to use personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time it was collected, we will notify users by way of an email. Users will have a choice as to whether or not we use their information in this different manner. We will use information in accordance with the privacy policy under which the information was collected.

How to contact Mondaq

You can contact us with comments or queries at

If for some reason you believe Mondaq Ltd. has not adhered to these principles, please notify us by e-mail at and we will use commercially reasonable efforts to determine and correct the problem promptly.