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Kevin Smith

Tattersall's Moves Away from Online Gambling

31 January 2003

Officials with Tattersall's, Australia's largest gaming company, announced last week that they will close down the company's online gambling division. Its two sites, one casino and one sports book, will shut down Saturday.

Tattersall's made its name through highly successful state lotteries and gaming operation in Victoria, Tasmania, the Australian Capital Territory and the Northern Territory. It also operates lotteries in Fiji, Nauru, the Cook Islands and a number of other Pacific Island Nations, and is a partner in Uthingo, the operator of the South African National Lottery.

In accordance with Australian law, and the high standards the company has maintained in its land-based business dealings, the online division has targeted players from only jurisdictions where Internet gambling is expressly legal--a policy that has prevented the company from pursuing the lucrative American market.

Due to the closing, the company will shut down an office in Hobart.

John Mortimore, GM of the company's online casino,, said the group would transfer its employees throughout other divisions of the company.

He said the company was struggling to reach the mass audience needed to make the operation profitable.

"The company had encountered a number of obstacles which had prevented from achieving satisfactory levels of trading," Mortimore said.

The company will return its focus to its core gaming and lotteries products and services. It will continue to offer Internet services for the purchase of its lottery and football tipping products via its Web sites at, and . launched in the Australian Capital Territory in September 2000 only to close a few months later after the federal government passed the Interactive Gambling Act of 2001, a law that bans Australia's online casinos from targeting players located within Australia's borders. It re-launched in October 2001 under a license issued by Tasmania.

The country's restrictive online gambling policy has greatly hampered's ability to turn a profit.

"The legislative environment for this business has always been difficult with federal legislation preventing the operation of online casinos and certain forms of sports betting and lotteries for Australian players," Mortimore said. "It has also been difficult to determine the legality of sports betting transactions with players in Australian states outside Tasmania, where our sports betting operation is licensed."

To stay on the safe side, Mortimore said, chose to not take bets from Tasmania as well as a number of overseas jurisdictions. customers have been informed of the closure and instructed on how to cash out. Those who want to continue betting can do so by having their accounts transferred to Sports Acumen, another Australian government-licensed and regulated sports book, out of Canberra. Sports Acumen is offering a 20 percent transfer bonus to users who switch.

Tattersall's is a foundation member of the Australian Lottery Bloc and of the World Association of State Lotteries.

The company has served governments in Australia and other countries for over 100 years, from the date of its first state lottery license in Tasmania in 1897. It claims to be the oldest private gaming operator in the English-speaking world.

The closure of makes out of the Northern Territory Australia's sole licensed online casino.

Tattersall's Moves Away from Online Gambling is republished from
Kevin Smith
Kevin Smith