Telstra, who are on the hunt for content for their BigPond TV Network is believed to be looking at gambling, as a means to lure home punters to their TV network.The carrier, who is set to benefit from the roll out of the NBN in Australia, believers “wagering” will attract consumers. As a result the company is looking to part finance the $400M bid by ThroughVision (TVN) to acquire the racing channel Sky Channel which is currently owned by Tabcorp.
The move, if successful, would see gambling made available on Samsung and LG Smart TVs Telstra T Boxes and a multitude of Blu ray players and set top boxes running the new Telstra BigPond TV software that allows for real time streaming of live sporting events.
Telstra who a 50% shareholder in Foxtel will also benefit if Foxtel acquires Austar United Communications the regional Pay TV provider, who has a direct relationship with Two Way Limited a Company that provides wagering on the regional pay TV network.
The move by Telstra to push gambling on home TV’s could become an issue for Prime Minister Julia Gillard and her gambling advisory committee who are currently under attack from Independent MP’s Andrew Wilkie and Nick Xenophon who want gambling further regulated in Australia.
Under a plan put forward by the Independents, punters will be forced choose between slower poker machines with smaller jackpots, or faster machines that will require players to first enter what they are prepared to lose over a period of a day or a week.
Once that pre-committed amount is reached, they would be locked out from playing the faster machines for 24 hours in every club in Australia, except casinos.
Clubs Australia executive director Anthony Ball said up to $20 million would be spent on fighting the “licence to punt”. He also claims that punters will move from clubs to gambling at home on wagering services that Telstra is looking to roll out in Australia.