|Australian gaming companies Tab Ltd and Tabcorp have joined forces to pressure the federal Government to block online betting exchanges from operating in Australia.|
The exchanges, like the UK-based Betfair, operate like internet auction sites, allowing punters to buy and sell bets at different odds.
Tab and Tabcorp want the government to close a loophole in internet gambling laws allowing Australian punters to bet with betting exchanges offshore, and stop Betfair getting a licence to operate in Australia.
A report by ACIL Tasman said TABs were on a par with ship building and petrol refining in terms of their contribution to the national economy, injecting $1.25 billion a year into the economy, including paying $471 million a year in wagering taxes.
TABs' support was vital to the health of the racing industry, but that would be at risk if low-tax betting exchanges were allowed to set up shop, it said.
TAB wagering chief executive Peter Kadar and Tabcorp general manager of wagering Michael Piggott said every one per cent shift in market share from TABs to bookmakers lost racing $5.4 million a year.
'The worse case scenario for the TABs, racing and government is the licensing of online betting exchanges, in terms of revenue losses, integrity and social impact problems,' they said.
Betting exchanges would also lead to an explosion in gaming, they said.