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Opposition Figure Malcolm Turnbull’s PlayUp Investment Questioned

Fri, Aug 30, 7:56am by Kevin Pitstock

PlayUp LogoAn investment in a gaming company by Opposition communications spokesman Malcolm Turnbull is receiving attention from opponents. Malcolm Turnbull claims the company in question is not in the gambling industry, while critics say a patent process shows an intention to become involved in gambling.

The company in question is named Revo Pty Ltd, though it trades under the name PlayUp. What is undisputed is that PlayUp provides a social networking platform for sports fans. Those who say Malcolm Turnbull has is guilty of wrongdoing say PlayUp offers gaming services, too.

Conflict of Interest Concerns

Whether that’s the case or not, political commentators and academics argue that the appearance of a conflict of interest is bad enough. The idea that Malcolm Turnbull would have the poor judgement to invest in such an enterprise shows something lacking in a man of his high station. The Sydney Morning Herald even used the word “foolish”.

For his part, Mr Turnbull says his business investments have no bearing on his parliamentary career. Turnbull amended his parliamentary pecuniary interests register back in May 2013 to indicate he and his wife had invested in PlayUp. At the same time, it was revealed Turnbull was recommending in shadow cabinet that government should avoid stronger new laws on sports betting advertising, such as the ban on live odds.

PlayUp Has No Gambling for Aussies

PlayUp Interactive Entertainment does not offer gambling for real money to Australians. The company does have a significant international presence, though. While no money exchanges hands in PlayUp’s Australian online operations, the company admits it has offered apps which provides monetary compensation in the past.

What’s at the heart of the debate is a 2007 patent application in Victoria for a device which would provide a “method and system for providing betting or wagering on a sporting event”. The patent has since lapsed, so Revo Pty Limited appears to have reconsidered whether to get involved in real money gaming.

That reconsideration came after 2009, though. In that year, the company submitted an application to the Productivity Committee for a license to provide gaming on credit. That practice is a key part of an online gambling operation, an aspect of the industry which has received criticism from former problem gamblers and social-minded gaming reformers.

PlayUp Chairman Nick Grenier

Malcolm Turnbull is not the only notable investor in PlayUp. Former New South Wales Premier Nick Grenier is PlayUp’s chairman, and Mr Grenier has used his notoriety and connections to recruit high-profile Australian athletes and wealthy citizens as investors.

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