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Craig Young article attacked

This is a copy of a letter sent by an OZmium client to the Sydney Morning Herald.

To The Sports Editor.

The article in the SMH: "Betfair faces millions in fines after content ruled illegal" by Craig Young, April 2nd 2003 is the greatest load of codswallop I've ever read!

The Interactive Gambling Act is a Federal law. In the summary of the Act at

is the following definition:

"Interactive gambling services include those that are often described as ‘online casinos’ and usually involve using the Internet to play games of chance, or games of mixed chance and skill. Examples include roulette, poker, craps, online ‘pokies’ and blackjack. ‘Interactive gambling services’ are defined in section 5 of the Act."

It continues to explicitly exclude sports gambling from the Act:

"Online wagering is not prohibited by the Act, except where wagers are accepted online after a sporting event has started."

To download the exact wording of the entire Act, go to

The relevant section is section 8a - an extract of this section is appended at the end of this email.

This SMH article was so ridiculous that I thought at first it was an April Fool's joke... except it was published on the 2nd!

So unless the SMH reporter Craig Young has made a complete hash of this article - quite possible, as he obviously didn't bother to read the Act himself - then the Australian Broadcasting Authority will definitely end up with egg on it's face.

Tim Ryan, described in the article as a member of the Australian Bookmakers' Association Internet betting committee, said: "Any idiot who has read the legislation knows that betting exchanges can't do what they are doing in Australia."

Well Tim, should read the Act himself. And if he can't understand it, he should ask someone who can. Tim continues in the article: "Betfair have a customised menu for Australian users - how stupid is that?" Gosh Tim, were you born with both feet in your mouth?

Given that this remarkable piece of "journalism" suggests that the Australian Broadcasting Authority, the Australian Bookmakers' Association, the SMH, the "respected racing identity" and of course Betfair all know nothing of the Act, makes me rather suspicious of the integrity of the reporter, Craig Young.

Craig is having a real ball: "Under the NSW Unlawful Gambling Act of 1998, punters in this state can be prosecuted for betting with an overseas operator not licensed in this country."

Craig delivers the coupe de grace himself: "It is illegal for Australian punters to bet with Betfair, which is a licensed betting firm in the United Kingdom."

Is that really so, Craig?

Australia's Legal Approach to Internet Gambling

Interactive Gambling Act 2001

8A Excluded wagering service
(1) For the purposes of this Act, an excluded wagering service is:
(a) a service to the extent to which it relates to betting on, or on a series of, any or all of the following:
(i) a horse race;
(ii) a harness race;
(iii) a greyhound race;
(iv) a sporting event;
(b) a service to the extent to which it relates to betting on:
(i) an event; or
(ii) a series of events; or
(iii) a contingency that is not covered by paragraph (a).

Definition of “unlawful game”
5 Definition of “unlawful game”

(1) For the purposes of this Act, the following games are "unlawful games" :
(a) the games called respectively fan-tan, pak-a-pu, two-up, hazard, baccarat, faro or roulette, or any similar game of chance,
(b) any game of chance that is played at a table or with gaming equipment,
(c) any game involving the use or operation of a prohibited gaming device,
(d) any game that involves the disposal of money by lottery or by chance,
(e) any game in which the chances are not alike favourable to all the players, including among the players, the banker or other person (if any) by whom the game is managed or against whom the other players play or bet,
(f) any game that involves playing or staking against a bank that does not pass from one participant in the game to another:
(i) by chance or by regular rotation among all the participants in the game, and
(ii) without any requirement to pay a charge or comply with any other condition,
(g) any game with cards or other gaming equipment from which a person receives a percentage or share of the amount wagered,
(h) any game of skill or chance, or of mixed skill and chance, in which any money is staked or risked by a person on an event or contingency specified by the person and in which:
(i) there is a dealer, croupier or banker who is not a participant in the game while acting in such a capacity, or
(ii) a person, other than a participant in the game, receives a payment or other benefit from the playing of the game, or
(iii) a payment or other benefit is given or sought for the right to participate in the game or for the right to enter the land or premises on which the game is played.

Max Hugen.


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