e-Petition – “Stop banning winning punters”

Its time that the government/ sporting bodies listened to us! Please support our lobbying by signing our government e-petition (click here)

As many of you now know we’re lobbying the government in relation to a  better framework for sports betting with the Interactive Gambling Act (2001). There are concerns about the current sports betting landscape from punters which include but not limited to:

  • Problem gambling
  • Banning winning sports punters
  • Banning offshore sports wagering
  • Gambling advertising
  • Minimum bet laws

Problem gambling, despite my line of work, is something I care about. I’m not sure that in my lifetime we will solve this issue, however, there are steps that both the government and gambling providers could do to make a change. As always there is politics involved as gambling revenue brings in massive money to government coffers. It seems, that unlike cigarette smoking or alcohol which has been attacked by the government (and rightly so), problem gambling is just swept under the rug. The biggest taboo subject is pokie machines with roughly $12 billion out of $22 billion lost nationally each year on those ‘electronic vermin’. The rate at which people lose playing pokies is absolutely horrific and its about time a government did something about it. Its ruining households and communities as people fight to feed their addiction. You would be hard pressed to drink or smoke $1000 a day, but something like that is easy to do on a pokie machine.

Banning winning sports punters is a topic I could write about for pages and pages, but I’ll try to keep it brief. Corporate bookmakers are allowed to ban anyone who wins on sports betting and some racing markets. They are allowed to, pick and choose the bets they accept as well as the clients they keep. This practice was happening in all racing until recently when a group led by Richard Irvine lobbied the racing bodies and had them bring in “MINIMUM BET LAWS”. NSW racing to their credit was the first to bring in the laws (click link for details). Essentially it states ‘if you want to offer our product, “NSW racing”, you need to take a bet from all punters’. Since then Racing Victoria and others have followed suit. What politicians and sporting bodies fail to understand is that many of the above listed topics are interrelated. We’ve let foreign bookmakers breed like rats in the current landscape, allowing them to feast on the weak and vulnerable punters of Australia. Instead of bookmaking in the traditional sense, the lack of regulation has allowed corporate bookmakers to pick and choose their clients. This is not bookmaking, this is a vehicle to print money, where they take from the problem gambler. Our government and sporting bodies have/are allowing it to happen. Both governments and sporting bodies have a responsibility to look after their constituents and supporter base. Their financial well-being should be high on the agenda.  If sharp punters are able to bet with bookmakers, many of the industries current shortcomings go a long way to being resolved.

Banning offshore sports wagering is the latest move to help political relations. Xenophon and Wilkie want reform and rightly so. Whole bunch of reasons why offshore sports gambling should stop; taxes/ fees being the main one. It is mad that a whole lot of money goes outside of Australia without any revenue coming to the government or sporting/racing bodies that provide those products. No argument from me there. But they’re going about it the wrong way, for a start they’re trying to ban IP etc., essentially censoring the internet, really shit idea, good luck with that. I for one will be circumnavigating that block very easily as will all others who wager currently offshore. If the government instead asked “why are people wagering offshore”? Punters would tell them “we only go there so we can get a bet on as bookmakers have banned us from betting in Australia”. This brings us back to the need for “MINIMUM BET LAWS”. Bringing in the need for Australian bookmakers to take a bet from all punters would stop offshore sports wagering almost overnight bringing revenue to governments and racing/ sporting bodies who deserve and need the funds.

Gambling advertising is disgustingly bad. It has reduced in very recent times, however, the way in which we’ve allowed it to infiltrate our sporting culture is horrid. The business model which has been allowed to be practiced in Australia is to; rope in sports fan with promos/bonuses through advertising excessively during the match coverage and ad breaks. Then find the weakest, most vulnerable punters once they are clients and provide them with ongoing promos/bonuses to keep their betting turnover up. Allowing only the worst of the worst punters to continue gambling with them as they turn away anyone who wins. The business model allows for such huge marketing campaigns, bonuses and promotions because the “bookmaker” (I use that term lightly) can never lose. Because of this they can continue to pour more and more revenue into advertising to hook more future problem gamblers. Disgraceful cycle and one that could also be fixed with, you guessed it “MINIMUM BET LAWS”. Bringing in these laws will force bookmakers to change their business models which will force them to decrease advertising, bonuses and promotions.

Minimum bet laws will help with so many issues. Bringing in “MINIMUM BET LAWS” will stop or limit; offshore sports wagering, problem gambling in sports, advertising in sports wagering, promotions and bonuses in sports wagering, banning of winning punters. Take Centrebet as an example, they have just relaunched their brand and have now positioned themselves in the market as “a service for serious punters”. They are now betting to lose up to $10,000 from any punter on some deep sports markets. There are no fancy bonus bet promos, no bullshit marketing ads, no money back garbage. Why? Because they have taken up a real bookmaking model which doesn’t need or allow for such concepts. So immediately by taking a bet, Centrebet have overnight eliminated; advertising, promotions, bonuses, banning of winning punters and offshore sport wagering, incredible isn’t it?

Its time that the government/ sporting bodies listened to us! Please support our lobbying by signing our government e-petition (click here)

Cheer Mac


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