Racing Australia, the regulatory body overseeing Australia’s racing industry, has announced strict new rules aimed at combatting illegal offshore betting operators that could see computers and mobile phones seized from local owners and trainers.
According to a report in The Sydney Morning Herald, the new rules apply to anyone bound by the rules of Australian racing and would see the electronic devices of anyone suspected of dealing with offshore bookmakers subject to forensic screening.
It follows a 2015 review into illegal offshore wagering which found that the amount of money wagered on Australian thoroughbred races with illegal offshore bookmakers was estimated to reach AU$900 million by 2020. The same review led to the tightening of the Interactive Gambling Act last year, which ultimately forced online poker operators such as PokerStars to exit the market.
“The illegal offshore wagering market is a scourge on Australian racing,” said Executive Director of Racing Wagering Australia, Stephen Conroy.
“RWA’s members work hand-in-glove with racing bodies to protect the sport’s integrity but illegal offshore websites continue to actively target and undermine Australian racing every day. More than AU$1.3 billion of gambling activity is going offshore from Australia every year, denuding racing authorities of millions of dollars in product fees, hitting prizemoney, sponsorship and track and training facilities.
“Tough consequences like these for engaging with the illegal offshore industry are a positive development for the racing industry.”
The new laws come into effect on 1 August 2018.