Smartgambler sports betting articles

Gambling related articles

Letter from Tim Ryan about betting exchanges

This was written in response to a letter from Smartgambler client Max Hugen.

The Sydney Morning Herald article criticized by Hugen also provoked a Smartgambler editorial attacking vested interests for their campaign against betting exchanges trying to enter the Australian market.

Tim Ryan is from the Australian Bookmakers' Association Internet Betting Committee, one of the so called 'vested interests' involved.

Smartgambler editorial


I actually didn't say exchanges were stupid - just the act of an explicit breach of the IGA was stupid.

As to vested interests - as I made the point at the bottom of my first e-mail - bookmakers and TABs pay tax and statutory levies to racing (a significant if not the biggest cost - the TABs pay (on racing about 56% of margin); bookmakers pay about 30% + extras like stand fees). All we want is a level playing field. We would be happy if the government barriers were lowered.

What most people don't understand is that the rise of betting exchanges in the UK came about for exactly that reason - the government dropped its 6.75% betting duty and horserace levy 1.25% and substituted those with a 15% Gross Wagering Margin Gross Profits Tax and 10% GWM Levy) - effectively to put in our terms reducing the TAB takeout by 9% (of turnover). The unresolved issue in the UK is that unlicensed persons are using the betting exchange platform to negotiate bets but do not pay tax or levy in respect to their GWM (profits).

Secondly, its about sound bites (or is that bytes in your case online?) - I have a good dialog going with Mark Davies of Betfair and we both are 'guilty' of 'aggressive' statements because that's what the press want - and apparently what the readers want. However - everyone in the game plays the ball not the man - I don't make derogatory remarks about particular people - I am playing the "ball" - its subtle but very important distinction. That said, personally I'd settle for a reasoned public debate then trading missives in the press.

If you want to do something constructive attack governments social policy on gambling issues not wagering operators - we are simply compliant with the law.

(We do. Editor)

For the record though I don't think that government is too far away from the opinion of the majority on gambling issues (if anything they are viewed as not being tough enough at least on pokies). In that climate its hard to argue for tax relief.

The point I made in the SMH Form "Weighing In" column stands - Australian oncourse bookmakers could provide all the services betting exchanges provide (currently illegally) if they (the bookies) were permitted to do so. If bookies have to be compliant with the law its not unreasonable that punters are asked to do likewise, nor that breaches of the law (by illegal operators) are prosecuted to full extent of the law.

Betfair have been in breach of IGA - they are now trying to extradite themselves - it is a "win" for law and order. Betfair are in breach of numerous publishing restrictions statutes in various states and territories. I know that they are being pursued, on a cease and desist basis, by government departments - if they persist they will ultimately be pursued by the police. This is why Betfair desperately are trying to get licensed in Australia (in all states) or at least be authorised to take bets from Australia (but at the same time they say they can't pay the same taxes as Australian licensed operators).

Cheers, Tim.


Article index




Home|FAQs|Disclaimer|Contact Us

©2000 to present. OZmium Pty Ltd. All rights reserved