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The AFL May Experience Online Gambling Boom

9 April, 2009,  Rita Malhotra, Staff writer


Current online gambling laws in Australia don't allow for bets to be placed on a sporting event after the game has already started.  But this may soon change, with AFL bosses lobbying hard to give punters the opportunity to bet this way on their football games, and the Rudd government is apparently receptive to the idea.

"In play" betting has long been popular around the world.  About 75 per cent of all English Premier League betting is made "in-play", where live odds fluctuate wildly.  Bets on the game outcome, next goal and winning margin are all accepted during the game.  It is a format that punters love, and Betfair estimates that current Australian internet gambling laws are seeing some $300 million lost to overseas operators allowing these types of bets.

But now the AFL have filed a submission with the Government requesting an amendment to the Interactive Gambling Act to allow for "in play" bets on AFL games.  They contend they are losing potential license revenue at the moment.  While they earn around $2million a year from partnerships with Betfair and Tabcorp, an "in play" betting surge with local operators is expected to double this figure.

Also very interested in developments in this area is Cricket Australia.  Cricket is a game whose format offers a myriad of "in play" bet options.  Bets could potentially be placed on each ball.

Australia is the only country in the world with a regulated online gambling regime that bans in play bets.  This was considered a means of curbing problem gambling by limiting sports betting options online.

Now the Government and local operators are facing the reality that any restrictions of a local regulatory framework impacts only local operators, and doesn't effect punter's bet options in the ubiquitous internet world where players can bet with any operator, based anywhere, anytime.



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