The Abbott government are likely to review the antiquated Interactive Gambling Act, including provisions around live betting, by the end of the year.
The need for the review of the Act that was passed in 2001 was brought into sharp focus after two corporate bookmakers implemented a ‘click-to-call’ feature to circumnavigate the current ban on in-play online betting for sport.
Whether the review will open-up the availability of live betting or further tightens rules for online bookmakers, such as a ban on credit betting and other inducements, remains to be seen.
A government review of the Act in 2013 outlined stakeholder concerns that the current provisions are out-dated, unnecessarily, complicated and inconsistent.
The report at the time suggested the legislation banning in-play betting online should remain, however it did open the door for possible change by suggesting an alternative to the current ban, such as allowing in-play betting online for simple bet types such as match-odds.
Another recommendation made in the review was to extend the ban on certain bet types.
The review identified micro-event wagering as a concern with recommendations to further the prohibition on micro-bets, extending from an online ban to a total ban.
In 2013, online bookmakers tabled their concerns of gamblers using offshore bookmakers to get around the ban on live betting and this will no doubt be a leading argument again in the upcoming review.
Bookmakers are likely to face tough opposition to any relaxation of current legislation, especially from South Australian senator Nick Xenophon.
Xenophon confirmed last month that he would introduce legislation to cut off credit offered to gamblers by online bookmakers.
“Increasing numbers of Australians, mostly young men, are falling prey to the predatory approaches and easy credit of sports betting firms,” Xenophon said.
Reports also suggest Xenophon will push for a ban on gambling advertising during live sports broadcasts.