Welcome to our December 2013 Gambling Law and Regulation
In this Newsletter, we cover some of the developments that have
taken place throughout the last few months of 2013.
Harm minimisation has been a constant theme across the gambling
space throughout 2013. The past few months have been no exception
and each of the following developments is covered in this
In November 2013, the Advertising Standards Board upheld a
complaint that a television commercial intended to discourage
teenagers from gambling had the opposite effect – that is, it
promoted sports betting to young children.
The Federal Government has recently announced that it would
repeal poker machine reform laws introduced by the previous
government in respect of voluntary pre-commitment.
Despite the Federal government's approach, the Victorian
government is introducing legislation relating to
We are often asked for advice in respect of unwanted bets, for
example, bets placed by minors or self-excluded gamblers. Gambling
operators often ask us how these bets should be dealt with, both in
practice and in the operator's terms and conditions. This issue
is covered in this Newsletter.
Australian wagering operators received a lot of media attention
in 2013. The fierce competition that exists between the
totalisators (whose business is founded on retail exclusivity) and
the corporate bookmakers (which comprise predominantly Australian
subsidiaries of leading European bookmakers, with Ladbrokes being
the most recent entrant to the Australian entrant) will continue to
intensify and was the subject of numerous media reports,
particularly around the Spring Carnival.
One significant difference in the path taken by Ladbrokes into
the Australian market is that it purchased a betting business
licensed in Norfolk Island. Understandably, many involved in the
industry are intrigued and want to know more about Norfolk Island.
Set out in this Newsletter are some Norfolk Island FAQs.
Additionally, there are often complaints made about the alleged
industry practice of restricting winning punters from placing bets
or the amount which these punters can stake.
One disgruntled punter took his complaint against Sportsbet to
the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT). This
decision confirmed that an operator could restrict punters in this
manner without breaching Australian Consumer Law.
Additionally, this proceeding also raised the question of
jurisdiction. Irrespective of the position in the Sportsbet terms
and conditions that disputes should be dealt with by the Northern
Territory Racing Commission, VCAT found that it had jurisdiction to
deal with this complaint and found in Sportsbet's favour. This
decision is addressed in this Newsletter.
On the subject of jurisdiction, wagering operators will find
comfort in the Centrebet v Baasland decision of the
Northern Territory Supreme Court (NTSC) when it
found that it, and not the Norwegian Courts, was the appropriate
forum to hear a dispute between a Norwegian punter and Centrebet (a
Northern Territory licensee). In reaching this decision, the NTSC
applied the position in the Centrebet terms and conditions which
stated that customers submit to the jurisdiction of the courts of
the Northern Territory of Australia. A detailed summary of the
Centrebet v Baasland decision is set out in this Newsletter.
Match and race fixing continue to dominate headlines, both in
Australia and overseas. In late 2013, a number of football players
from a sub-elite competition in Victoria pleaded guilty to various
match fixing charges. These are the first convictions in Australia
under match-fixing specific legislation. (Previously, prosecutions
were brought under general criminal law provisions relating to
fraud. This includes the successful prosecution of Ryan Tandy.) It
is difficult to predict the issues that will affect the gambling
sector in 2014. Who would have predicted new Australian casinos
being approved? But this occurred in 2013 and it is quite possible
that similar material issues will arise in 2014. Some of the issues
that may affect online gambling in Australia in 2014 are summarised
in this Newsletter.
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.
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The issue of recording telephone calls was recently considered in the Federal Court in Furnari v Ziegert  FCA 1080.
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