The Australian Communication and Media Authority (ACMA) and Federal Police (AFP) are stepping up their campaign against the betting industry over its in-play services by threatening action over bets taken during multiple day sporting events such as golf and cricket.
Australian news sources report that the ACMA has asked William Hill, Crownbet and Sportsbet AU to clarify how wagers taken at the end of a day’s play of a cricket test or golf tournament did not breach Australia’s Interactive Gambling Act.
While such events can be argued are technically ‘in-play’ at the end of day of a five day test for example, bets at the end of a day’s play have long been a staple of betting and never been cited as an issue before. Bookmakers argue that if the principle was applied to other sports, then betting on Aussie Rules grand final winners would not be allowed after round one of the competition.
However given the ACMA’s current battle with some bookmakers over the legality of the ‘Click to Call’ in-play betting services and similar, which use online call facilities to place a bet over the phone, this second investigation can be viewed as a shot across the industry’s bow.
If found guilty the bookmakers could face fines of AUS $1.2 million (£500,000) per day of the sporting event’s play. The ACMA noted that its had investigated the bookmakers, following complaints made by the public.
Last month William Hill Australia Chief Executive Tom Waterhouse stated that the bookmaker would stand by its product and contest the charges made against its ‘Click to Call’ feature. Waterhouse stated that William Hill viewed the feature as an extension of its telephone betting systems allowed by Australian laws.
The ongoing polemic surrounding “Click to Call” betting features has caused Australian ministers and industry stakeholders to call for a review the nation’s Interactive Gambling Act. Numerous commentators have claimed that the act’s framework and policies are no longer viable in governing betting amid changing market and technology conditions.