Betting operators have been given 28 days to cease offering in-play betting in Australia’s Northern Territory.
Northern Territory Racing Commission (NTRC) chairman John McBride has this week written to all the operators licensed in the state – including Ladbrokes, Sportsbet and William Hill – to confirm the ban that was threatened two months ago.
McBride first contacted bookmakers in June to warn that click-to-call-style betting would be banned due to federal government pressure. However, a strong backlash from the industry caused NTRC officials to halt the progress of the proposed ban.
Now Northern Territory Racing and Gaming Minister Peter Styles has instructed the NTRC to confirm the ban on in-play betting.
“In his response, the minister acknowledged the various concerns raised by members of the industry,” McBride wrote, according to the Australian newspaper.
“However, he noted that pursuant to the Racing and Betting Act, the commission must comply with a ministerial direction and directed that a condition be imposed to prohibit sports bookmakers from offering click-to-call type functionality, where such functionality uses recorded or synthetic voices.”
Federal Human Services Minister Alan Tudge is expected to push a bill through parliament this year to ban in-play betting following a recommendation put forward by last year’s O’Farrell Review into offshore wagering.
Sportsbet chief financial officer Ben Sleep added: “It is critical the federal government’s upcoming changes to legislation put beyond doubt that it is illegal for Tabcorp and Ubet’s retail stores to offer in-play betting via touch screen terminals, which offers the same betting experience to using an app on a smart phone or tablet.”
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