For months, the Australian government has been trying to stop locally licensed sportsbook from offering players the ability to place in-play bets. Lawmakers are finally beginning to make some headway, as Ladbrokes becomes the first Australian betting operator to ban live betting among punters across the country.
Several major betting operators that are licensed in Northern Territory have continued to offer in-play betting despite the government’s ban on the activity – including William Hill, Bet365, Sportingbet and Unibet. Through a click-to-call loophole, these companies allowed players to place in-play wagers using their computers – and Ladbrokes is the first company to cease doing so.
Ladbrokes has stopped offering live betting services but the company has not done so happily. Dean Shannon, CEO of Ladbrokes Australia has spoken out against the law, saying:
“If you look at clients who are betting on sports around the world, they’re allowed to bet in-play. I think in this day and age with people living through their mobiles and online, it makes a lot of sense for people to be able to still bet using the devices they use for everything else.”
While local operators are no longer allowed to offer in-play betting, offshore operators are free to do so. As such, companies like Ladbrokes are concerned that players will simply choose to wager with operators from overseas, causing them to lose valuable business. While we have to see this come to fruition, it is a very legitimate concern that has many operators worried about their bottom line.
Currently, Ladbrokes and Bet365 are the only Australian betting operators to suspend in-play betting services. The other NT-licensed companies have yet to follow suit, so we will keep you updated as this story develops.