2GB - Drive - Interview with Ben Fordham
Topics: Government response to Illegal Offshore Wagering Review
….Loophole that has allowed bookmakers to offer online in-play betting. The Government has announced their response to Barry O’Farrell’s review into Illegal Offshore Wagering, they’ve accepted 18 of the 19 recommendations either in full or in principle.
So, how is this going to affect you if you are a punter? Well, Alan Tudge is the Minister responsible for Human Services, he’s on the line this afternoon. Minister, good afternoon.
What are you going to do about closing this loophole so this involves online in-play betting? You’d better explain what that is first of all.
This is when you can place a bet after the game has started on your mobile device. Now, at the moment, it’s illegal to do that, in part because we think there is enough problem gambling already, without having the ability to literally make a punt every minute of every game on every sport in the country.
We’ve decided that no, we’re not going to have in-play betting. You can still gamble on your mobile phone, you can still make your punt before the game, but not once the game has started.
How do you police something like that when it involves the world wide web?
This is what Barry O’Farrell was giving us advice upon. The key issue is that if you are a licensed provider in Australia - they abide by the Australian rules. But there are all sorts of illegal offshore providers who have been accepting bets from Australian residents.
Now, we’re taking a number of steps to crack down on those illegal offshore providers. It’s clarifying the law and empowering the regulator.
It is introducing some quite tough disruptive mechanisms, such as placing the directors of some of these companies on our movement alert list, it is exploring things like ISP blocking and payment blocking in order to avoid the money going on to some of these illegal offshore providers, some of whom are connected to crime gangs in Asia.
Alright, not all of the sporting codes have been with you on this. Cricket Australia and the AFL have been barracking for online in-play betting to get the green light, so how have they taken this news?
I haven’t heard from the AFL or Cricket Australia yet today. Yes, they were wanting online in-play betting to occur, in part that they would get more money from it, their argument also is from a sports integrity perspective.
My point to them is that the best thing that we can do from a sports integrity perspective is ensure that as many of the bets as possible are done in Australia, rather than on illegal offshore gambling sites. Because if they are in Australia, then at least there is some visibility of irregular betting patterns. Whereas if they are offshore, we have no visibility so if someone is trying to corrupt the game, you can’t see what’s going on. So that’s the most important thing.
And secondly, the sports bodies themselves have to ensure they have got good, strong sports integrity units in their organisations. Some of the codes do, some of the codes could probably do better in that area.
Thanks so much for your time, Minister.
No worries, Ben.
Alan Tudge, the Minister for Human Services joining us this afternoon.