A new national working group will be established to tackle the increasing impact of illegal offshore wagering on Australian racing and sports.
The new Illegal Offshore Wagering Working Group will be established under the Australian Government’s Gambling Industry Advisory Council and will include representatives from the racing industry, professional sports and wagering organisations.
Federal Minister for Social Services Kevin Andrews and Premier of Victoria and Minister for Racing Denis Napthine announced the working group saying it was critical to stamp out illegal offshore wagering.
“There are significant numbers of illegitimate offshore operators already targeting Australian racing and sport and it is vital that an effective regulatory regime be introduced to address the serious integrity and revenue risks that they pose,” Mr Andrews said.
“It is also important to discourage any Australian-based operators being tempted to relocate offshore in order to avoid the obligations to racing and sporting bodies that they face under existing Australian laws.
“There are already Australian headquartered organisations that are operating in this way by basing their betting operations in unregulated international jurisdictions including in the Pacific and Asia regions.
It is understood the annual turnover by Australians punters with these organisations is in the hundreds of millions of dollars,” Mr Andrews said.
Dr Napthine said by paying product fees, bookmakers ensure the racing and sport they bet on remains healthy and can grow into the future – so it is in their own long term interests to pay the required fees.
“Illegal offshore wagering on our racing and sports events has a detrimental effect, with these bookmakers failing to pay product fees for betting on our racing and sporting events,” Dr Napthine said.
“Wagering revenue streams are important contributors to the funding of racing and sports facilities, implementation of integrity measures, prizemoney and participant payments and other operational costs.
“It is unfair that legitimate Australian-based and registered bookmakers pay the product fee required of them by racing and sports bodies while offshore bookmakers effectively pirate Australian product.
“Offshore bookmakers also refuse to adhere to integrity measures that are fundamental to the honest operation of the racing and sporting events.
“These important integrity measures include requirements for operators to disclose betting records and not to offer inappropriate bet types that unnecessarily expose racing and sport to corruption.
“The working group will be asked to examine the regulatory regimes in international jurisdictions
that may have an application within Australia and to also look at all other technological and legislative options available,” Dr Napthine said.
The working group will be asked to provide recommendations through which the Australian
Government, State Governments and/or racing and sports bodies can minimise the threats of unauthorised offshore wagering.
The working group will be calling for public submissions for its consideration.
Consultation will occur in coming weeks on the final make-up of the working group with a view to it starting work later this year.
A final report including recommendations will be provided to the Federal Government through its Gambling Industry Advisory Council in 2015.