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Australia's Racing Industry Want Online Betting Ban

20 September 2004

MELBOURNE, Australia – As reported by the New Zealand Herald: "Australia's horse racing industry has called for a ban on a new style of online betting, saying it encourages fraud, in a move intended to thwart a bid for a gaming licence by British internet betting firm Betfair. Privately-owned Betfair already accepts Australian bets through its online betting exchange.

"However, its plans to put the business into a 50-50 joint venture with local media tycoon Kerry Packer's Publishing and Broadcasting depend on it winning a gaming licence. Without one, it also has no rights to advertise its service.

"Racing's industry body and Australia's biggest betting company, Tabcorp Holdings, said Betfair's system, where punters can set their own odds, act as bookmaker, and back a horse to lose, encouraged race fixing.

"…The proposed PBL/Betfair alliance would challenge Tabcorp's wagering business, which makes up about 28 per cent of its core earnings.

"…Australia conducts about 23,000 horse races a year, the third highest national count in the world, with betting turnover of A$14 billion ($14.98b), the fifth highest.

"The big betting chains, totalisator groups like Tabcorp and UNiTAB Ltd., keep about A$3 billion after paying prize money and expenses. They also fund racing and pay taxes to state governments.

"Betfair has said it would contribute too if it won a licence…"

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