Australia will lose billions of dollars to international online sportsbooks if it does not tighten regulation, a review by international consultancy firm H2 Gambling Capital has concluded.
The review, funded by the Australian Wagering Council, said Australia’s voracious appetite for sports betting has generated one of the world’s largest grey markets as online bookmarkers compete for a piece of a growing pie. This was first reported by CalvinAyre.
The number of online sportsbooks serving Australia’s sports betting market has increased fivefold since 2013, the study found.
H2 warned that 60 cents in the dollar is going online and said that by 2020 this will equate to AUS$2.3 billion (US$1.64 billion) that the country will miss out on. This would include AUS$100 million in annual tax revenue (US$71.1 million) plus forgoing significant economic growth opportunities, particularly job creation and technological investment.
The report said a lack of regulation to protect Australian sportsbooks’ interests would leave its industry underdeveloped when compared to the world’s other leading gambling nations.
Ian Fletcher, chief executive of the Australian Wagering Council, which represents Bet365, Betfair, Sportsbet, Unibet and William Hill, had the following to say: “For too long, parliaments have passed up the opportunity to respond to shifts in consumer demand for wagering, arising from the mobile internet and the globalisation of sports.
“As a result, Australians have chosen to bet with illegal, online wagering operators. This review marks the chance for real progress in the regulation of the wagering sector in Australia.”
Australian bettors want live in-play betting online
The report has been presented to former New South Wales premier Barry O’Farrell who is in charge of a review that seeks to revamp Australia’s online sports betting laws to make them more appropriate for the modern age.
The Australian sports betting industry wants to see nationally-consistent regulation to provide a strong, predictable framework for investment and underpin returns to sports teams. It believes a properly resourced national regulator is also best placed to police and enforce laws against the unlicensed, online operators that will inevitably continue to attempt to target Australian customers.
The AWC also argued that the current ban preventing sportsbooks from offering in-play wagering should be removed to allow them to meet public demand. It said banning in-play wagering online while allowing it in other ways is unrealistic and does not respond to changes in how consumers bet and what they choose to bet on.
At the end of the day, Australia is trying to monetize the popular sports betting industry the best it can, really no different than what's going on in other parts of the globe as in the United States politicians are lobbying to allow sports betting in their backyards. Sportsbook Review interviewed New Jersey State Senator Raymond Lesniak on his vision for Atlantic City last month.