New South Wales government backs racing industry guidelines with minimum bet laws to stop bookmakers screening out punters on a successful streak
Online bookies will be banned from screening out successful punters in New South Wales after the state government backed new racing industry guidelines obliging bookmakers to accept any bets that pay out $1,000 or less.
The minimum bet limit will be even higher for larger bookies, who will have to take any wager on a metropolitan race that pays out up to $2,000.
Racing NSW implemented the new guidelines in September after receiving hundreds of complaints from punters claiming their online betting accounts were frozen or restricted after a string of successful bets.
But the state gaming minister, Troy Grant, said some online bookies had “refused to express unqualified support for the new minimum bet rules”. It is understood that Racing NSW has continued to receive reports of internet bookmakers flouting the guidelines.
“It is not fair to have wagering operators profit from punter losses but then bar or restrict successful punters in the amount they can wager on any one bet,” Grant said.
“This is the same rule that applies to on-course bookies and maintains the integrity of thoroughbred racing.”
Richard Irvine, from the punters’ lobby group Fair Wagering, claims companies such as Luxbet, Centrebet and Bet365 – all of which are based in the Northern Territory for tax reasons – actively discriminate against successful amateurs and professional gamblers.
Five NT-based bookies have severely restricted or closed his accounts citing commercial reasons.
He welcomed the decision by the NSW government, the first in the country to apply minimum bet laws to online bookies.
“Hopefully it will be adopted Australia-wide over the next year,” he said. “Government support is a huge advantage and also gives the cause the credibility it deserves.”
Another online bookmaker, Sportsbet, successfully defended its right to reject bets in the Victorian civil and administrative tribunal in December 2013, after restricting the account of a Melbourne man who won $22,500 in just over a month betting on horse races.
NT-based bookmakers oversaw $8.5bn in bets last financial year and the Australian industry has attracted heavy investment from foreign betting giants such as William Hill, which bought up Tom Waterhouse, SportingBet and Centrebet in 2013.