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Tabcorp Wants to Block Offshore Bookies in Australia

Australian betting giant Tabcorp's Chairwoman has called for the country to ban offshore sportsbooks from offering their services to Australian citizens.

Paula Dwyer made the plea to the Coalition, and noted that countries such as France and Great Britain are already doing so and that the Australian government should follow suit to protect firms that are located in-country and pay taxes.

When speaking about the other countries' attempts to block out offshore firms Dwyer said, "Tabcorp's view is that a similarly powerful response is needed in Australia. While it is difficult to measure precisely, there are estimates that as much as 14 per cent of betting by Australian-based customers is conducted with operators who are not licensed in Australia."

While the UK and France are initiating financial blocks and ISP warnings on sites (although UK providers have rebuffed the warnings), Dwyer said that she does not want to see such measures enacted in Australia. Instead, she would prefer that the country simply make it illegal for betting operators to offer wagers to Australians, believing that it would satisfy the situation.

In 2012-2013 offshore betting operators brought in more than $1.2 billion from Australian gamblers, with a sizable portion coming from casino games which are already illegal under the country's Illegal Gambling Act. Those numbers are likely putting a large dent in the pocketbooks of groups such as Tabcorp, leading for the executive to make the plea for relief.

While laws could be put into place to make offering offshore firms illegal in Australia, enforcing the law is a much trickier proposition. The Australian Federal Police has said, "With respect to overseas-hosted URLs ... AFP officers do not have police powers [such as charging offenders] in foreign countries."

With that being said, it will be interesting to see how things move forward as an all-out ban would likely be ineffective in the enforcement ring.

Casino Listings will update this story as more developments arise.

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