Will there one day be a revolt by punters wanting to bet “in-the-run” or “in-the- play” on racing and sports events? Maybe. At the moment, such a betting approach via the Internet or Betfair is banned in Australia.

We might well ask why? Is there any valid reason for denying Aussie computer punters the chance to bet while an event is happening, especially when it’s something like a golf tournament?

As one chap said on a racing forum on the Internet: “Our dumb politicians don’t think we are mature enough to be able to handle such a dangerous form of gambling.”

Currently, it’s a breach of the Interactive Gambling Act (IGA) to offer in-the-play betting via the Internet. But here’s a private letter from a keen punter which throws some light on the controversy:

“I think we now have the PERFECT material for you and Betfair to make a case for a VERY key piece of regulatory change that should be made in Australia for the benefit of Betfair and its users.

“Remember last week, we backed the Australian golfer Nathan Green in the PGA tournament, and subsequently, because I was in the USA at the time, we were able, ON-LINE, to lay off that bet and put ourselves into a guaranteed profit situation, even though he subsequently LOST the tournament when he stumbled into a bogey on the first playoff hole.

“This week, I placed into my account a small series of bets totalling $70 (about what we won last week) on four contenders in the Dubai Desert Classic on the European tour. Interestingly, the largest of these bets was on another Australian golfer named Green, this time Richard, who I backed at $34 to 1 for $20, to return a potential $680.

“Our other bets were:

  • Goosen at $5.10 for $20 to return $105.
  • Jiminez at an average of $21.85 for $10 to return $218.50.
  • Els at $8.60 for $20 to return $172.

“All these bets were placed on Sunday morning (the 5th of Feb) at about 1am Sydney time, after completion of the third round of the tournament (when Tiger Woods was the strong favourite to win, and was tied at 16 under with the lesser known Anders Hansen of Denmark). Goosen was one stroke from the lead at 15 under, with Green, Jiminez and Els each another stroke back at 14 under.

“During the early part of round four, during last night, Jiminez had an early birdie so was one off the lead and could have been laid off at about $14 (but NOT by anyone trying to do so on-line from Australia).

“Similarly, Ernie Els birdied holes 3 and 4 to take a share of the overall lead, so I not only had the opportunity, but indeed TRIED by submitting an on-line order, to cover by laying Els at $3. This bet was rejected by the Betfair system because I was on-line from Australia this time instead of from the US, even though it was the same person entering the bet from the same computer for the same account as did so the prior week!

“Importantly, Richard Green was actually leading this tournament after the 17th hole, just like his compatriot and namesake last week, and though I do not know exactly what price we could have covered him at, I would guess it would have been about $2.50 or so. In this case, we could have laid him to lose (say) $500 (i.e. accept a bet of $200 on the other side), leaving us with an overall profit of:

  • $310 if Green went on to win ($680 -$500 = $180, plus the $200, minus the original $70 outlay);
  • $302 if Els won ($172 plus $200 minus $70);
  • $348.50 if Jiminez won ($218.50 plus $200 minus $70); and 
  • an absolute minimum of $130 if Woods or anyone else ended up winning ($200 minus $70).

“Instead, we end up with a $70 loss, just because I could not go on-line to lay off as I had the prior week.

“Of course, I could have used the phone betting solution to do all this, but I am an on-line bettor, not a phone bettor, and I don’t see ANY justifiable political or technical reason that would justify one set of rules covering phone betting and a totally different set covering on-line betting.”

Interesting reading, and just one example of why a restrictive ON LINE law hampers the keen punter.

Even if the restriction remains for horse racing, there should certainly be ample thought given to getting rid of this ridiculous law for on line punters.

By P.B. King