Sports-mad Australians definitely enjoy placing wagers on their favourite sports, as is demonstrated by the fact that the country did more than $20 billion in sports bets the previous year, and the amount has been increasing steadily year upon year for the past decade. Interestingly, around half of all sports wagering in Australia happens on the internet. There is a great deal of competition for the betting dollar in this country, and one is hard pressed to miss the large number of advertisements for sports gambling in this country.
The advertisements are featured on radio and prime time television shows, and also on social media and the internet. A large number of advertisements are played during sporting events. The huge amount of advertising money that sports gambling sites attract have also caused the New South Wales Office of Liquor Gaming and Racing (OLGR) to pay attention to it.
The OLGR is of the opinion that sports gambling companies have to be monitored very carefully in order to ensure that they play by the book. For instance, the OLGR pulled up a particular sports gambling company that was offering people incentives to gamble and also offered services to residents of NSW, both of which are in contravention of the Racing Administration Regulation in the state. The company will face regulatory action in case it is not able to provide a proper justification of its actions.
Gambling in Australia is regulated according to the Interactive Gambling Act of 2001, but the law is obviously very old and out of touch with the latest developments in technology and gambling habits. There is need to review this law, and the task has been given to Barry O’Farrell, former premier of NSW. O’Farrell is expected to submit his recommendations later in 2015 and there might be subsequent changes in the law in 2016. It is expected that the issue of in-play betting will be examined in some detail because there is a great demand for this particular feature.
There are many online casinos that offer a number of gambling and gaming options to Australians. While most of them feature slots, poker, bingo and casino games in addition to a sportsbook, a few sites prefer to play safe by not offering sports betting to Australians even though there is no actual restriction on doing so. It is clear to see that these sites are awaiting clarity on the government’s stand on online sports betting before they offer this product to the Australians.
MP and active campaigner for gambling reform, Andrew Wilkie, does not however, place much faith in the report. He is of the opinion that the government has only commissioned the enquiry in order to provide Australia-based gambling companies from foreign competition and not to bring about any actual reforms. There are cosy commercial relationships between bookies and various sporting bodies in Australia. What is also needed is a study on whether advertisements during sporting events actually induce people to gamble more frequently or not and whether this can result in problems.