A report in the Herald Sun on Wednesday claims that the Australia Federal Government is considering legalising live online sports betting and poker, activities that are currently banned down under. Australia does permit phone betting and walk-in wagering. The country is known for its popular bookmaking operations.
According to the report, local gaming sites could run trials of both forms of gambling within one year.
From The Herald Sun:
In a bid to help punters avoid unregulated overseas betting, industry sources believe online poker will be trialled for up to five years while online in-play sports betting will be approved.
In-play betting, which is currently offered in Australia only via the telephone and in person, could be a boom industry worth an estimated $300 million a year, given its easy accessibility through popular smartphone and tablet devices.
But it is at far more risk to corruption because it involves fluctuating odds during matches for final results and individual events and may also undermine the government's tough stance on advertising betting during sports telecasts.
Earlier in the month, Merrill Lynch gaming analyst Mark Bryan wrote in a letter to his clients:
"In-play live online betting: Many in the industry indicated that they expect this to be legalised alongside poker in the next six-12 months following overseas precedents," Mr Bryan wrote.
"It seems (Communications Minister) Stephen Conroy's department recently provided a brief on draft legislation."
Online poker would also factor into the new scheme. Australia is host to one of the world’s richest poker tournaments, The Aussie Millions. The World Series of Poker also announced plans to begin holding a yearly tournament in Australia.
- Nagesh Rath, Gambling911.com