|Online betting exchange Betfair has begun arguing its case this week in the High Court of Western Australia against what it feels are unfair restrictions on its operations.|
Betfair’s Australian operations are based in the state of Tasmania and the company is seeking to have the Court strike out Western Australia’s laws that prohibit residents from placing bets using the exchange.
Sydney’s Publishing and Broadcasting Ltd (PBL) half owns its operations in the southern nation and the case has seen other state governments rally to Western Australia's defence, with the notable exception of Tasmania.
Opening its action, Betfair showed judges how to gamble online on Australian-rules football and horse racing and argued that Western Australia’s laws, which also prohibit interstate gamblers from betting on Western Australia horse races, contradict section 92 of the Constitution, which declares that trade between states should be absolutely free.
Stephen Gageler, attorney for Betfair, spent more than half an hour guiding the full bench in Perth through dozens of slides explaining the process of placing an online bet using Betfair.
'This is getting interesting, I might get addicted,' stated Justice Michael Kirby. Gageler defended Betfair's system, saying that it differed from other betting agencies in that it allowed punters to back a greater range of possible outcomes.
'What it comes down to is a clash of a 19th-Century production process with a 21st-Century production process leading to a product with limited options versus a product with more enhanced options for the customer,' said Gageler.