UK giants defend Australian live betting operations

UK giants defend Australian live betting operations

Thursday, June 25, 2015
William Hill and Ladbrokes believe their live betting offering is legal

William Hill and Ladbrokes have defended their Australian operations after reports from the country suggested they may be the subject of a Federal Police investigation.

A complaint to the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA), in which the nation's internet regulator was told that the two gambling giants have not complied with local laws, is believed to have been handed to the police.

The issue surrounds the way the firms accept bets for sporting events which are already underway, with a report in The Australian suggesting the ACMA complaint received in May alleges that Ladbrokes’ Quickcall and Hills’ Click To Call offerings are circumventing laws that restrict live gambling.

“We make no comment on press speculation,” a William Hill spokesman told TotallyGaming.com. “William Hill takes its global compliance obligations very seriously, and following consultation, the product was approved by the Northern Territory Regulator before being offered.” 

Ladbrokes also told TotallyGaming.com that it is confident its Quickcall product is not illegal. A company spokesman said: “We firmly believe our processes comply with the law and we have had no contact to date from any authorities about this issue."

The Interactive Gambling Act 2001 (IGA) states that live betting in Australia is only allowed via telephone communication, but the ACMA complaint suggests that the two companies have improperly sought to bypass legislation by allowing such wagers to be made online on condition the microphone on the customer’s computer is switched on.

The ACMA has been forced to turn its investigation over to the police as the complaint involved content hosted in Australia. Under its powers, the ACMA can only investigate gambling content that is hosted outside Australia.

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