|The Australian Courier Mail today reported the bleak news that Australia's racing industry would crumble if International online betting exchanges were given licences to operate in Australia. The fears were also confirmed by wagering group TAB Ltd, which is also the strongest critic.|
Betfair which operates the world's largest betting exchange has been a strong lobbyist for a license to operate in Australia. While a state and territory government task force recently recommended such agencies be banned from operating in Australia, New SouthWales (NSW) based TAB is paranoid about UK-based Betfair's entry and is taking no chances. Stepping up its anti-Betfair campaign, TAB's Managing Director Warren Wilson strongly attacked Betfair's wagering operations model, saying it
would directly hurt the contributions companies such as TAB (which contributed $200 million to state coffers) paid to state and territory governments and in subsidies to the racing industry itself.
Mr Wilson said the licensing of Betfair would force the Australian racing industry to take a step back to the 1960s, when there was a bookie in every pub. 'The whole system will crumble backwards to a lower model,' he said. Models such as Betfair's were gaining popularity because they offered better odds but under such models, fewer funds would be distributed to governments and the racing industry
Mr Wilson claimed the contribution would be slashed to about $9 million each if the Betfair model was applied. Models such as Betfair's are gaining popularity because they offer punters better odds, but they do not pay taxes to governments and the racing industry. 'Models such as Betfair will not work and will cause catastrophic demise of the racing industry as it is today,' Mr Wilson said.
TAB is currently in talks with Federal Communications Minister Richard Alston, who is responsible for online gaming laws and with other state and territory governments. The governments had made no promises yet. However, a state and territory government Betting Exchanges Task Force has recently handed down a recommendation to ban such operations from Australia's wagering industry.