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Betfair proposal attacked - Victorian racing industry virtually admits money laundering is good for racing

After recent revelations about leaks in sports betting and unknown punters being able to strike questionable bets (Melbourne Storm NRL scandal), Betfair Australia CEO Andrew Twaits put forward the idea of making all punters bet via accounts, or at least be registered so the money trail is traceable. Naturally, this would turn a few off, but the Victorian racing industry has had more than a handful of problems with dirty money being washed at the track by unsavoury gentlemen in tracksuits. When the Federal Government brought in legislation compelling the reporting of all wagers or payouts above $10k, what did they do? Simple, just have several tickets to win $5k each, bypassing the legislation. Or they would watch for a winning punter at the track and offer them a 15% premium to buy their winning ticket so they could collect 'clean' money from the bookmaker.

Back in the early 90s, a member of the Gleeson family was caught as part of a race-fixing allegation at Harold Park harness racing track in Sydney where the hopples of a horse were deliberately cut pre-race, so that they would break very easily during the race. The horse, the hot favourite, galloped and finished out of the placings. The punter backed the exotics without the favourite (from their stable), and stood to collect more than $10k from their shady work. He had bet cash at a TAB agency, but was caught out by the paperwork required with the Federal Govt anti-money laundering bill. Had the bright spark considered giving the ticket to someone not obviously connected with the family, they'd probably have gotten away with it.

Betfair proposal attacked

The proposal from Twaits was never going to find favour from anyone but the sports authorities. In reality, it's not that different from lotteries these days. By setting up a membership system where the cash player swipes their card with each entry, their ticket can then never be lost, so the punter will never miss a payout. Bookies/firms can offer loyalty schemes for punters and the list of options goes on. It's also a useful problem gambling deterrent. But, it would scare off a lot of money from suspicious characters the racing industry is obviously happy to do business with. The Victorian racing industry also relies heavily on poker machine (slot) revenue, another vehicle for laundering vast quantities of money. If you want a cleaner image guys, there's a couple of places to start working on...

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