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9/5/2003 edition

Are Betting Exchanges Doomed?

We know that Betfair, with annual turnover in the billions of dollars, is here to stay whether TABs and bookmakers like it or not. So what could the opinionised heading "Exchanges doomed" possibly mean?

Rod Nicholson pointed out in "Exchanges Doomed" (Melbourne's Sunday Herald Sun, May 4, 2003) that a Betting Exchange Task Force had been established a month ago by racing ministers from the states and was asking for submissions from "concerned parties" which he added included "TABs, bookmakers and racing organisations".

Nothing new about that. But we thought a "concerned party" would also have to be a Betting Exchange. Apparently not assuming Rod Nicholson has accurately reported those details about the Betting Exchange Task Force.

Rod Nicholson's article pointed out that the TABs will recommend that "state governments respond by amending the definition of "wagering" in the Interactive Gambling Act. It would proscribe that the activity could be conducted only by a provider licensed in an Australian jurisdiction."

What does that mean? It appears to mean Rod Nicholson has been told by the vested interests that instead of competing, they want to ban betting exchanges for Australians by making them illegal, even if the business operation is set up here, because they will not be given a license.

If the vested interests succeed, Australians will only be allowed to wager with bookmakers licensed in Australia. No Australian will be allowed to use the internet to wager with any of the numerous legal bookmakers based overseas.

Should they succeed, how will they enforce their ban? Anyone can establish overseas based bank accounts and money can be transferred from there.

This illogical ban could have widespread ramifications. To commence with:

1. It is a restraint of free trade. Others might hit back.
2. It is a restraint of an individual's rights to obtain the best commodity price.
3. To be consistent do you also ban all other overseas internet purchases?
4. To be consistent do you also ban purchases of shares in overseas based companies?

Why not go a step further? Ban holidays overseas - holiday only in Australia so our economy benefits.

But we all know that is stupid and absurd.

We are reminded of the English King Canute, who 1000 years ago thought he was so almighty and so powerful that no one or no thing would refuse his lawful commands. So he went to the beach and in full sight of his court ordered the waves to retreat. Of course, to no avail.

E-mail and the internet has changed the way the world operates. It has made communication instantaneous and world-wide trade instantaneous and accessible for the average person. Just like King Canute was powerless to stop the waves, so these waves cannot be stopped.

Think about it. There's no going back now. We are in the 21st. century Age of Internet and Instant Worldwide Communications.

This edition of Punt to Win:
Should betting exchanges be banned?
TAB Limited's "Spinner" bet
Betting favourites in small fields
Handicapping tips - weight and class
Money talks - Randwick betting tips from the track
Money talks - Caulfield betting tips from the track
Money talks - Eagle Farm betting tips from the track
Money talks - Morphettville betting tips from the track
Future winners - unlucky horses
Punt to Win 2/5/2003
Punt to Win index

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