The global gambling company, Betfair, could be awarded a license to operate online betting in NSW following a meeting with Premier Morris Iemma’s Gaming and Racing Minister and Betfair, according to an exclusive report from the SMH.com.auBetfair’s only success in Australia to this point is in Tasmania so a license to operate in NSW could be extremely lucrative for the agency, says SMH.
Iemma’s office refused to comment to SMH yesterday when asked if the half-owner of Betfair, James Packer’s PBL, or associates on its behalf had lobbied the Premier to have Betfair licensed in NSW. However the minister, Graham West, reportedly told a budget estimates hearing that Iemma instructed him to “tackle the issue”.
The Iemma Government has already been accused of an “addiction” to funding services with gambling revenue, according to SMH, and is already identifying the millions of dollars it could gather through profits to fund hospitals and schools.
Iemma was critisised on four counts relating to gambling recently, when he decided to allow pubs to introduce the Keno game; his refusal to rule out lifting the cap on poker machine numbers at individual hotels; the possibility of selling lottery tickets in convenience stores; and figures showing NSW punters are losing more money than ever on pokies.
The possibility of Betfair winning a licence follows speculation that PBL lobbied the Iemma Government to establish a second casino in the NSW, says SMH.
Betfair, which allows punters to bet against each other, dominates the global betting exchange market. In Britain it has been the subject of race-fixing charges and has been banned in many other countries.