The legality of taking ‘live’ bets by gambling operators now involves a huge online bookie: Bet365. Recently in many countries, pressure has been mounting on regulators and police to resolve the
problem of online betting with foreign-owned gambling sites that take “live” bets over the internet. The rules most jurisdictions adhere to generally restrict in-play betting to telephone calls only and cannot take bets ‘live’ online.
Bet365’s online activity is following suit after another huge online bookie, Ladbrokes and William Hill, begun taking bets on in-play events via the internet, with the specification that the
bettor’s computer microphone is turned on thereby technically constituting a “phone call”.
The loopholes provides the client not having to speak to make the bet, which is easily made with a click of the mouse. In Bet365’s case, the bet is also made by clicking a button, although the bet
details are read back to the bettor by a computerised voice for confirmation thereby constituting a ‘call’ though electronic and automated.
Many operators are claiming that will lose market share every day if the loophole is not tied up and if the letter of law is not enforced. There are reports out that ASX-listed wagering operators
such as Tabcorp sought out legal advice which allowed them to determine that they should not offer a similar service to their clients.
“If these UK operators were good corporate citizens they’d turn the service off and stop diverting the resources of the Australian Federal Police, who have more important things to worry about,
such as security,” a gambling industry source said to Australian media.
The media also reported that the Australian Federal Police recently confirmed it received a referral from the Australian Communications and Media Authority to investigate the cases but neither
agency is officially saying anything at the moment. Also yet to comment on the matter, are the three major bookmakers, who are based in Britain and run licensed offshoots in Australia.
The law that is being circumvented is the ‘Interactive Gambling Act 2001’ which prohibits the placing of bets on sporting events that have started, with the exception of using the telephone,
personally. But with a lot of money to make, online bookies have used their technologies to reinterprete the law, and the sheer will of internationally-based firms to spark a new market of online
betting activity, have shaped the landscape.
Ladbrokes calls this feature ‘Quickcall’, William Hill calls its ‘Click to Call’ and now Bet365, who has put a lot of money into promoting its business operations in Australia are calling their feature ‘betCall’. They have used ads featuring the world famous actor Samuel L. Jackson, to promote this offer. All three of these systems run by the big names, basically work by opening an audio link between the client’s device and the betting site to “satisfy” the requirement for a “phone call” to place the bet.
Live betting on sporting events during play is basically a very new, untested and potentially lucrative market. It shall be seen if enforcement shall set a new standard globally on the market.