Online Gambling Free Bets Nixed in Victoria Australia

Published Tuesday, June 09, 2009 - Online-Casinos.com

In the Australian state of Victoria casinos and gaming operators in will no longer be allowed to use free bets to entice new customers to play the games. The Victoria Parliament is currently working on legislation that will make it illegal for betting service operators to offer complimentary wagers as advertising or marketing hooks.

Laws that are similar to the Victoria propositions have been passed in other Australian states such as New South Wales and South Australia. Bookies and other gambling operators took full advantage of a relaxation of those laws last year and started aggressive advertizing campaigns to attract more business. Participants are being offered between $50 AU to as much as $500 AU to sign up with a particular site.

Betfair and Luxbet which are two of the largest operators of wagering services have already curtailed their offering of free bets.The other major gambling services providers Centrebet, Sportingbet and Sportsbet are expected to follow suit shortly.

Andrew Twaits, Chief Executive Officer at Betfair said of the companies decision that they had "voluntarily" stopped offering free bets last month. adding, "We don't believe free bets cause problem gambling, but we can see governments banning them nationwide and we believe we have some unique points of difference,"

Gambling addiction in Australia is on the rise and many politicians in Australia are under the assumption that online wagering adds to the problem.

Rob Hines, CEO for Racing Victoria, said he welcomed the news of the coming prohibition. "It's a responsible gambling issue. We have always held the view that people should be very cautious in their betting," he added.

The newly-formed Australian Internet Bookmakers Association (IBA), representing the interests of several online betting firms including Centrebet and IASbet, acknowledges the recent criticism leveled at online gambling firms in Australia.

In its submission, to the Productivity Commission the IBA joined Betfair in its call for revisions in the Australian Federal Interactive Gaming Act to allow regulated online poker. Betfair has argued that the current prohibition on web poker is making Australians gamble on foreign-based web sites.




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