Australia: In-play betting no more – well, sort of…

As the dust settles from the Melbourne spring racing carnival, we review the current status of in-play betting in Australia.

In May 2016, the Corrs Gaming & Wagering practice group reported on the release of the O'Farrell Review into the Impact of Illegal Offshore Wagering (Review) and its proposed impact on in-play betting (read the full article here).

As one of its 19 recommendations, the Review endorsed the deferral of consideration of additional in-play betting products until the establishment and operation of a national framework that implements the legislative intent of the Interactive Gambling Act 2001 (Cth) (IGA).1

Readers will recall that a number of betting agencies were offering 'click-to-call' betting products which allowed bets to be placed online (for example through handheld devices) after the start of a sporting event through the use of Voice-over Internet Protocol (VOIP) technology.

Advocates of the product argued that this fell within exclusions under the IGA for 'telephone betting services'.2

In its response to the Review, the Federal Government indicated that it did not intend to 'further expand the Australian gambling market through the enabling of in-play betting' and that it would introduce legislation shortly to address the use of 'click to call' technology to reflect the intent of the IGA.3

Following the release of the Review and the Federal Government response, Federal Human Services Minister Alan Tudge called for 'click-to-call' service providers to cease offering the product immediately.4 However, it appeared for a number of months that the availability of the product would continue until the IGA was amended.

SO WHAT CHANGED?

In June 2016, it was reported that the Northern Territory Racing Commission (Commission) had written to bookmakers licenced in the Northern Territory to put them on 28 days' notice to remove any 'click-to-call' services.5 On 10 August 2016, following opposition from certain industry players, The Australian reported that the Commission had made its final decision that 'click-to-call' products must be removed.6

The final letter reportedly stated that the Commission was required to comply with directions given to it by Northern Territory Racing and Gaming Minister in accordance with the Racing and Betting Act (NT), and as a result, it had been directed to prohibit 'click-to-call' products by sports bookmakers.7

A majority of corporate bookmakers are licenced in the Northern Territory, including four out of five companies that offered 'click-to-call' services.8 The letter reportedly ordered these bookmakers to cease offering the product, in order to 'head off' possible action by the Federal Government against the Northern Territory.9

In response to the directions from the Commission, operators have updated their online sites to direct customers to their respective call centres to place in-play bets over the phone (in-play phone betting is permitted under the IGA).

The rationale for strengthening the prohibition on online in-play betting seems to be the belief that the time-delay and 'manual steps' associated with making an in-play bet over the phone or through human interaction, compared to on an online platform, yields a net protective benefit for problem or at risk gamblers who could be protected from the risks associated with the lure of high speed bet placement.

Interestingly, in early September 2016, William Hill launched a new product called 'Double Down'.10 Using the William Hill app, punters who have already placed a bet on selected horse races are able to double their initial bet online after the race has commenced.11 The cost of being able to double the bet placed is 10% of the initial bet stake.12

Under the IGA, placing a bet online after the commencement of a horse, harness or greyhound racing event is not prohibited, whereas doing so in relation to a "sporting event" is. That is, in-play betting through an online platform is not permitted for "sporting events", but is permitted for "racing events".

WHAT'S THE PATH FORWARD?

On 10 November 2016, the Interactive Gambling Amendment Bill (IGA Bill) was introduced to the House of Representatives.

We understand that industry stakeholders were given the opportunity to comment on draft legislation and a national policy framework. Apart from addressing head on the issue of in-play betting, the IGA Bill imposes prohibitions on interactive gambling services being offered into Australia or from Australia to customers in designated countries, on abducting such services, as well as conferring enforcement powers on the Australian Communications and Media Authority.

In relation to the 'click-to-call' opportunity, as the Federal Government foreshadowed it will introduce amendments to the IGA which:

  • expansively define what is meant by a "telephone betting service", and in so doing try to prevent future 'work-arounds' like VOIP technology;
  • allow the Minister to determine what a "sporting event" is for the purpose of the IGA (this concept is not currently defined); and
  • define "in-play betting service" (again, this concept is not currently defined).

We understand that earlier iterations of the IGA Bill sought to set out, in some detail, how sporting events – in particular multi-staged events - were to be treated. Now, however, the IGA Bill adopts the position that Ministerial instruments will provide the necessary detail. The detail will be crucial to understanding when a patron may be permitted to place an online bet during, for example, a break in play during a sporting event – such as between rounds in a golf-tournament.

The IGA Bill also introduces the concept of a "place-based betting service". The legislation will allow online in-play betting on sporting events when placed using "electronic equipment" at the venue of a licensed operator – that is, by corporate bookmakers with a physical presence (e.g. Tabcorp and Tatts Group). Prior to the introduction of the IGA Bill, a number of corporate bookmakers without physical premises reportedly wrote to the Communications Minister, senator Mitch Fifield, to express concern that the availability of such "electronic equipment" would infringe the principle of "platform neutrality". They also raised the issue that this would allow bookmakers with a physical presence to provide the very same services that online bookmakers are not permitted to provide to their customers – for example by providing tablets to venue-based gamblers to allow high speed bet placement.13

There is no suggestion in the IGA Bill to extend the online in-play betting prohibition to horse, harness or greyhound racing events.

A FINAL THOUGHT

While the Review (and the Federal Government's response to it) emphatically rules out the prospect of the widespread introduction of online in-play betting for sporting events (outside of in-place betting services), it seems that a complete picture of the Government's approach will only be possible when the Minister outlines his approach to what are (and what are not) "sporting events" for the purposes of the IGA Bill.

It will also be interesting to see whether the concerns rallied by the online corporate bookmakers in relation to "place-based betting services" will be taken up in parliamentary debate.

Our Gaming & Wagering practice will report on the national framework initiatives to be introduced in future articles.

Footnotes

1 The Hon Barry O'Farrell, Review of Illegal Offshore Wagering, 18 December 2015, p 152.

2 Interactive Gambling Act 2001 (Cth), section 5(3).

3 Australian Government, Government Response to the 2015 Review of the Impact of Illegal Offshore Wagering, April 2016, p 7.

4 Media Release: Consumer protections and tougher laws to combat illegal offshore wagering; 28 April 2016, the Hon Alan Tudge MP and Senator the Hon Mitch Fifield; Dan Conifer, 'Live online sports betting loophole to be closed by Federal Government', 28 April 2016.

5 Rick Wallace, 'NT reluctantly bans in-play gambling to head off Canberra' The Australian, 11 June 2016.

6 Sarah-Jane Tasker, 'Northern Territory gives in-play ultimatum to online bookies', The Australian, 12 August 2016,

7 Ibid.

8 The Hon Barry O'Farrell, Review of Illegal Offshore Wagering, 18 December 2015, p 66; Rick Wallace, 'NT reluctantly bans in-play gambling to head off Canberra' The Australian, 11 June 2016.

9 Ibid.

10' Gaming Intelligence, 'William Hill Australia rolls out innovative new In-Play betting product', 9 September 2016, http://www.gamingintelligence.com/games/39676-william-hill-australia-rolls-out-innovative-new-in-play-betting-product.

11 William Hill, 'Double Down' https://www.williamhill.com.au/betting/help/double-down/.

12 Ibid.

13 John Stensholt, 'Tabcorp, Tatts could get an in-play betting free kick', Australian Financial Review, 18 November 2016.

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.

Chambers Asia Pacific Awards 2016 Winner – Australia
Client Service Award
Employer of Choice for Gender Equality (WGEA)

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

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

Authors
 
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”

Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Tools
Print
Font Size:
Translation
Channels
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
Password
Confirm Password
Position
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Accounting
 Anti-trust
 Commercial
 Compliance
 Consumer
 Criminal
 Employment
 Energy
 Environment
 Family
 Finance
 Government
 Healthcare
 Immigration
 Insolvency
 Insurance
 International
 IP
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Litigation
 Media & IT
 Privacy
 Real Estate
 Strategy
 Tax
 Technology
 Transport
 Wealth Mgt
Regions
Africa
Asia
Asia Pacific
Australasia
Canada
Caribbean
Europe
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
U.K.
United States
Worldwide Updates
Check to state you have read and
agree to our Terms and Conditions

Terms & Conditions and Privacy Statement

Mondaq.com (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 www.mondaq.com

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 Mondaq.com’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.

Disclaimer

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.

Registration

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 unsubscribe@mondaq.com 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.

Cookies

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.

Links

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.

Mail-A-Friend

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.

Security

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 webmaster@mondaq.com.

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 EditorialAdvisor@mondaq.com.

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 enquiries@mondaq.com.

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