Queensland Online Gambling Incentives Blasted

Published Sunday, February 01, 2009 - Online-Casinos.com

In Australia, where it is really hot these days, online gambling has become a burning issue. Online gambling agencies are giving away millions of dollars' worth of "free" bets to entice players to wager, something condemned by critics as " unethical ".

In most of Australia's states there is a ban on poker machine venues offering financial inducements to players. Online betting companies confirmed offers of free bets has been a long standing industry practice.

An online gaming patron in Queensland received an email along with 13,000 other dedicated customers offering a $10.00 free bet in an attempt to get people to renew membership cards. The Centrebet offering was a small one in comparison to some of the other online gambling companies trying to allure the already committed online customer.

Sportingbet Australia said it offered free bets of up to $200.00 depending on the amount the customer had deposited in their betting account. Betfair stirred the pot at the Australian Open last week by offering free $50 bets to tennis fans willing to sign up for an account. Sports bookmaker Gerard Daffy with the ACT-based, Sports Acumen online betting company, offered $50 in bets to existing customers who referred a friend. Mr Daffy disagreed with the idea the free bet offers would fuel problem gambling, saying they were no different to the incentives offered by other businesses.

Anti-gambling Senator Xenophon wants the Federal Government to ban online offers of free bets. Social justice campaigner the Rev Tim Costello said "It's like saying to an alcoholic, here's a free drink." Further adding "There is no question it is dangerous. I think it's wrong."

Critics aside the Australian online gambling public seem to be taking full advantage of these offers.

Agencies that book online wagers have been allowed to advertise their free-bet offers in Victoria and NSW since those states dropped a long-standing ban on such these activities. Australia's racing ministries hope to develop a national standard for online advertising.

Mr Costello is calling for research into the extent of online gambling. Claiming that online gambling could be a potential mine field for problem Queensland gamers. More than $5 million a day, was lost by the state's gambling public last year.

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