There's no denying that Australia is a nanny state now. Political correctness, occupational health & safety and ambulance-chasing lawyers have changed the fabric of society, almost entirely for the poorer. A couple of years ago, a constitutional challenge by corporate bookmakers and Betfair threw out the age-old ban on bookmakers advertising in states other than the one they were licensed in. It defied the constitutional notion of free trade across state borders which every other industry had benefitted from since federation in 1901. But the nanny state mentality fought back in order to protect their once state-owned monopoly TABs, with the banning of incentives for free bets - standard marketing practice anywhere else in the world.
Bookies charged for bet offers
CHARGES have been laid against three bookmakers just four days out from the biggest event of the Spring Carnival.
The Victorian Commission for Gambling Regulaion has laid charges against three bookmaker firms over betting inducements.
Charges are expected to be laid against other firms.
Luxbet - a wholly-owned subsidiary of Tabcorp - International All Sports (IASbet.com) and Eskander's Betstar have been charged with offering an inducement to open a betting account.
Under Victorian gambling laws it is illegal to offer rewards as an incentive to open a betting account.
The firms each face hefty fines with the maximum penalty for each offence set at $2,389.
IASbet allegedley offered the biggest inducements, rewarding first-time gamblers with up to $1000 in free bets.
Eskander's Betstar allegedley offered free bets of up to $500 while Luxbet allegedley offered guaranteed minimum odds on Roger Federer or Serena Williams to win the 2010 Australian Tennis Open.
The first 50 new customers to open a Luxbet account, deposit a minimum of $100 and place a fixed odds bet of up to $50 on Federer or Williams to win the Open were guaranteed the odds.
I have the utmost respect for any organisation trying to prevent problem gambling, however this is as far removed from problem gambling as banning the sport in question. Casinos and poker machines (slots or fruit machines in other parts of the world) cause the vast majority of problem gambling cases, in the region of 95%, so imposing restrictions on the GAMING part of gambling makes sense. Poker machines in Victoria and most Australia states are in plague proportions, so much so that it is virtually impossible to keep a pub viable without using the pesky things. WAGERING however is a completely different animal. There is competition between operators, there is skill involved in winning and it is possible to win long-term at it, although only a tiny percentage of punters (~5%) ever achieve that. For the vast majority of punters, it is an enjoyable pastime which doesn't need nanny state interference suppressing their ability to find better odds than the local monopoly.
Poker machines ruin lives - this is a song "Blow Up the Pokies" about it from brilliant Australian band The Whitlams. The original bass player in the band committed suicide because of his addiction to the cancerous pests.