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Betfair Faces Millions in Fines

1 April 2003

AUSTRALIA – As reported by the Sydney Morning Herald: "The multibillion-dollar betting exchange Betfair faces fines of $1 million (US$604,452) a day after the Australian Broadcasting Authority found the UK-based company's content was prohibited.

"The Herald has obtained a document which also states the ABA believes "there was sufficient evidence of possible breaches of sections 15 and 61EA of the IGA [Interactive Gambling Act] to warrant the referral of the matter to a law enforcement agency".

"…Tim Ryan, a member of the Australian Bookmakers' Association Internet betting committee, was `not surprised in the least' at the ABA's findings.

"`Any idiot who has read the legislation knows that betting exchanges can't do what they are doing in Australia,' Ryan said.

"…`The legislation is clear - do not target Australians, do not provide prohibited gambling services, do not pass go. Betfair have a customised menu for Australian users - how stupid is that?'

"…Betfair's director of communications, Mark Davies, said on Sunday that `if we hold up our hands and withdraw, the threat to the funding of racing is far greater than at present'.

"…Betfair is willing to pay the Australian racing industry part of its five per cent deductions from the win commission taken from punters who are successful at backing or laying a horse.

"The amount on offer is causing ructions within racing's ruling bodies, the various state governments and TABs, which fear income streams will be eroded.

"…Under the NSW Unlawful Gambling Act of 1998, punters in this state can be prosecuted for betting with an overseas operator not licensed in this country.

"…It is illegal for Australian punters to bet with Betfair, which is a licensed betting firm in the United Kingdom."

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