Gambling related articles

Here is a letter from Senator Bob Brown to Prime Minister John Howard on the issue of Betting Exchanges.

6 April 2005

Prime Minister John Howard
Parliament House
Canberra, ACT

Dear Prime Minister

You will recall that in 2001 I voted in support of the Government's legislation to ban online gambling - providing the crucial vote that allowed the legislation to pass. I supported the legislation because I am deeply concerned about the social consequences of increased access to highly addictive types of gambling such as those provided online.

However my support was contingent on amendments to the legislation aimed at protecting the horse racing industry from any adverse impact from the new law. A new type of online gambling - betting exchanges - is now being considered by at least one state in Australia.

This form of gambling is both damaging to the racing industry and allows a type of gambling counter to the intent of the interactive gambling ban passed in 2001. These new aberrant forms of gambling online present an unnecessary social threat that could lead to increased incidents of problem gambling.

I write to ask you to consider amending the Interactive Gambling Act to specifically outlaw betting exchanges.

Yours sincerely
Bob Brown

Here is a response to Senator Brown's letter (which was published on the Greens website) from a professional gambler.

Good morning Cr Brown.

I was amazed to read recent news reports quoting a letter from yourself to the Prime Minister regarding the licensing of the Betting Exchange "Betfair" in Tasmania.

As an ardent Greens supporter I am shocked to see the content of your letter. As a large professional punter I cannot understand why an organisation which offers a reduction in their "take" can be regarded as an "unnecessary social threat" and why the real social issues of problem gaming (such as Casinos and Poker Machines) are not being adequately addressed.

The content of the Interactive Gaming Act is archaic in that the distinction between telephone betting and internet betting are distinguished, when they are the same technology (one being more expensive than the other - telephones). I agree that some forms of online gambling can be addictive and support any stance to outlaw gaming and casino style betting, however gambling on sport outcomes is a completely different situation.

It would appear from your letter that you have been hoodwinked by the Australian Racing Industry and monolithic corporations that support it (i.e. Tabcorp and Tab Ltd). The propaganda being bandied about by these bodies must not be listened to, their efforts are nothing more than a restraint of trade - and protecting "shareholder" profits. It is about time a decent competitive player was allowed to compete in this market.

I am appalled that the Greens would allow themselves to take a stance on this issue which I consider to be outside your mandate. I felt the need to write this email, given I approached you prior to the Interactive Gaming Act being passed and my concerns at that time were ignored. I will be writing to various other people who have similar situations as myself to highlight your stance here.

Kind Regards
Tony Messenger

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