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SportOdds Loses Appeal in NSW Advertising Case

3 November 2003

The Federal Court of Australia has handed SportOdds another defeat in its quest to advertise its online betting services in New South Wales.

The Sydney-based online bookmaking firm had been granted an expedited appeal to resolve the matter after having lost a decision before a lower court last month, The appeals court ruled Wednesday, however, that the company had not presented sufficient evidence for the court to make an accurate decision on whether a section of the state's Racing Administration Act (RAA) of 1998 imposes an invalid restraint on trade and commerce between Australian states.

During the first hearing, held in September, Sportodds sought to invalidate restrictions that prevented the company from advertising and publishing odds in New South Wales. In doing so, SportOdds attacked Section 4 of the RAA, which, according to the court's summary, states that "the appellant can only advertise betting information and betting services if the appellant is a licensed bookmaker authorized by s16 of the RAA to engage in electronic betting (in this case the appellant must be at a licensed race meeting when the bet is received) or if the appellant is authorized under s32 of the RAA (in this case the relevant person must be at a licensed race meeting when the advertisement is published)."

SportOdds had argued that Section 4 was invalid because certain aspects of other laws dealing with the same content were also invalid. The primary judge agreed that the other provisions were invalid in their application to the appellant, but did not declare that Section 4 was therefore illegal. According to the court, "The deletion of the invalid provisions of the TRB, the HRA, and the GRA did not affect the meaning of part 4 of the RAA."

SportOdds appealed this issue as it asked for an expedited hearing. It also introduced an alternate argument before the higher court. That argument also attacked Section 4 of the RAA, this time taking the approach that the primary judge should have ruled the section invalid because it discriminated against interstate traders in a protectionist way by "prohibited the advertising and/or publication of betting information unless the licensed bookmaker or other authorized person had a physical presence at a licensed racetrack in New South Wales."

But in the words of the court, "The factual material that the parties have placed before the court is totally insufficient to enable the court to deal with the 'free trade' issue that the appellant now pursues." And in the absence of adequate information, the court declined to give the ruling that SportOdds desired. The judges pointed to an earlier decision in which sufficient information was lacking, and the court, therefore, dismissed the case.

At the time of printing, SportOdds was not available to comment on whether the case would be appealed further to a higher court.

SportOdds' efforts may have been stifled by time constraints. The company asked for an expedited appeal so that it could advertise in New South Wales for the Rugby World Cup, which is underway in Australia.

Click here to view a copy of the SportOdds ruling.

SportOdds Loses Appeal in NSW Advertising Case is republished from iGamingNews.com.
Bradley Vallerius

Bradley P. Vallerius, JD manages For the Bettor Good, a comprehensive resource for information related to Internet gaming policy in the U.S. federal and state governments. For the Bettor Good provides official government documents, jurisdiction updates, policy analysis, and many other helpful research materials.

Bradley has been researching and writing about the business and law of internet gaming since 2003. His work has covered all aspects of the industry, including technology, finance, advertising, taxation, poker, betting exchanges, and laws and regulations around the world.

Bradley Vallerius Websites:

www.FortheBettorGood.com
Bradley Vallerius
Bradley P. Vallerius, JD manages For the Bettor Good, a comprehensive resource for information related to Internet gaming policy in the U.S. federal and state governments. For the Bettor Good provides official government documents, jurisdiction updates, policy analysis, and many other helpful research materials.

Bradley has been researching and writing about the business and law of internet gaming since 2003. His work has covered all aspects of the industry, including technology, finance, advertising, taxation, poker, betting exchanges, and laws and regulations around the world.

Bradley Vallerius Websites:

www.FortheBettorGood.com