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Church groups concerned over in-play betting in venues

Tue, Dec 6, 10:58am by Staff Writer

Church groups are the latest body to join the growing list of those expressing concerns about the live in-play betting provisions within the Interactive Gambling Amendment Bill which is currently before federal parliament,

Human Services Minister Alan Tudge put forward the Bill in the just completed session of parliament and it is expected to pass without significant problems earl in the new year.

The Bill implements several of the recommendations of the O’Farrell review into online gambling, with one of the headline recommendations, that on-line in-play betting on sports be banned from a  federal level.

However, there is a provision for betting agencies, such as TABs to continue to provide live in-play betting on their own devices within their retail venues, such as pubs, clubs and TABs.

The concession, based around the fact that the law does not prevent people betting on the phone or in person live in-play on sport, has drawn the ire of TAB and Tatts’ rivals, who see it as giving those companies an unfair advantage.

Anti-gambling MP Nick Xenophon, and his NXT party, have also said they believe that the harm minimisation intentions of the IGA amendment Bill will be undermined by allowing people to bet on devices within venues.

Now the Uniting Church’s Synod of Victoria and Tasmania says it is ‘disappointed’ that inplay betting services are still legal under the amendments.

“It will favour those gambling providers that already have their own geographical locations that people gambling can go to,” it said in a submission.

“The Synod and Uniting Communities are disappointed at the carve out for excluded gaming services in the Bill, which could provide a significant loophole for online gambling businesses to provide devices on which in-play betting can be conducted.”

TABs can offer this service through their electronic betting terminals within venues, but they can also offer devices such as tablets and phones to punters. It is believed this is already occurring in Queensland.

Labor’s spokeswoman on gambling, Julie Collins, told News Limited publications that Labor will monitor in-playing betting at venues, to ensure that there is not a significant increase. But it will support passage of the legislation.

“We believe the legislation could have gone further but we don’t want to hold up the legislation any longer,” she said.

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