Illegal betting exchanges in Australia are turning over at least Aus$10bn (€6.7bn/$8.0bn) annually according to a government body investigating the black economy.
Michael Andrew, the chairman of the Black Economy Taskforce, said at least 10 illegal exchanges are operating in the country.
Andrew told Fairfax Media that the illegal operators consisted of international crime syndicates and local criminals, who were being investigated.
The taskforce’s final report is due next month, with the body having taken 147 submissions to date, some of which have come from racing industry insiders.
There are particular concerns about punters using illegal operators in the lead up to November’s Melbourne Cup.
Last month, the Australian Senate moved to pass the Interactive Gambling Amendment Bill, which includes legislation that bans all remote operators from offering online poker and in-play sports betting to punters in the country.
“During our work we have identified numerous illegal betting exchanges operating in Australia, many connected to Asian crime gangs,” Andrew told Fairfax Media.
“Illegal gambling undermines the integrity of our racing and sports entertainment industries,” he said.
“It makes no economic contribution to social infrastructure, state taxation nor to the cost of the racing product.
“It puts legal betting operators at a large competitive disadvantage especially with high volume professional punters.”
The taskforce wants to help the federal government claw back an estimated $15bn in lost federal tax revenue and illegitimate welfare payments due to the black economy.
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