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Bookies cry foul as ‘Click To Call’ ban comes into place

Wed, Oct 5, 9:22am by Staff Writer

The ban on live online In-play betting comes into force on Wednesday, with a major corporate bookmaker accusing the proposed federal legislation which bans the practice of unfairly favouring Tatts and Tabcorp.

The Northern Territory government informed the major corporate bookmakers recently that it would close a loophole which allowed them to operate ‘Click To Call’ online services on sports betting.

The likes of Sportsbet and William Hill have now ceased to offer Click to Call, although punters can still bet live on sporting events over the phone.

The bookmakers have estimated that over $1 million weekly was bet through ‘Click To Call’ which circumvented the existing legislation by offering an automated phone call which placed bets.

William Hill had invested significantly in developing and promoting Click To Call and the change in regulation is a significant blow to their local business.

The federal government is set to introduce legislation which would formerly ban live in-play betting nationally and provide a consistent regulatory approach to the issue across all states and territories, through the much-criticised Interactive Gambling Act.

However, Sportsbet have objected to the aspect of the draft legislation which would allow Tatts and Tabcorp to take live bets in pubs and clubs through phone and tablet apps.

Sportsbet’s chief financial officer Ben Sleep told The Australian his company felt it was not operating on a level playing field if the proposed legislation was passed as drafted.

“Having iPads for live betting on every pub table in the country is entirely inconsistent with, and undermines, the government’s own policy position on restricting in-play wagering to in-person retail and telephone betting,” he said.

Tabcorp and Tatts, who between them control the retail betting licenses across Australia, have promised to introduce geo-blocking technology which would see punters being able to bet via their own phones and apps within retail venues such as TABs, pubs and clubs.

These venues can already offer live in play betting via betting terminals and if they were able to guarantee that punters are betting on their devices ‘in venue’ would be able to offer that service.

Human Services Minister Alan Tudge is conducting extensive consultation with the gambling industry to ensure the new legislation offers a solution not just for the present but moving forward.

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