Betfair to go Online Down Under
By staff
According to numerous Australian media reports, online betting exchange firm Betfair could soon have an operating license for Internet gambling in the state of New South Wales.

The Government for the nation’s most populated state is reportedly in discussions with the online gambling company's Aussie operations, which is half-owned by James Packer's Publishing and Broadcasting Ltd (PBL) that already has a licence to operate in Tasmania.

Gaming and Racing Minister Graham West stated that around a quarter of the people now using Betfair come from New South Wales and that the state may be missing out.

'Betfair is an Internet product, so because it is already licensed in an Australian jurisdiction it is easy for people to jump online and use it,' said West. 'It is not a question of creating a new method, it is a question of how we get the best revenue out of that for New South Wales and especially the racing industry.'

A spokesman for West later confirmed that the state government was examining how corporate bookmakers and betting exchanges, including Betfair, could be made to contribute to New South Wales’ racing industry in addition to critical services such as hospitals, schools and the police.

However, Racing New South Wales Chief Executive Peter V'Landys is critical of the plans and said that the racing industry had not been consulted. He stated that the financial effects of allowing Betfair to operate in the state could cost the industry tens of millions of dollars.

”The fact is that, under its proposals, Betfair would pay 24 cents for every $100 bet compared to one dollar by bookmakers and $4.50 by the totalisator,” said V'Landys. “Therefore, turnover would need to increase from the existing $4.5 billion per annum to something like $80 billion. That, of course, is totally unrealistic.'

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