Thursday, 9 April 2009

Don't bet on it

There's no harm in trying I suppose but the AFL is trying to back a long shot winner in getting the Federal Parliament to remove the current ban on betting over the internet while a sporting event is in progress. The argument of the football administrators is that their clubs are missing out on considerable revenue and that there is no logical reason why something that is legal to do by voice over a phone is illegal when the bet is sent via an internet connection. 
The Melbourne Herald Sun reports this morning that in a submission to a federal government inquiry the AFL argues that in-play betting is extremely popular worldwide as a form of gambling, and if consumers are not able to access it online in Australia, they might elsewhere with overseas operators. "It seems inconsistent that a consumer can bet 'in-play' via telephone but not online." the submission says. "Specifically, the AFL would like to suggest amendments to the Interactive Gambling Act 2001, such that betting online during sports events, or after an event has commenced, is no longer prohibited."
The obstacle the AFL and their bookmaker and betting exchange supporters have to get over is that back in 2001 the Liberal and National parties actually wanted all betting via the internet to be banned and came within one vote in the Senate of achieving it. With the South Australian independent Nick Xenophon a staunch anti-gambling crusader and the Family First's Senator Steve Fielding hardly a supporter of the practice, the numbers are just not there even if Labor could be persuaded to try.
Note - at the time of the 2001 legislation Richard Farmer was chairman of an ASX listed internet gambling company.

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