Betfair submits applications for approval to publish Victorian race fields

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Following the introduction by the Victorian Government of a legislation requiring publishers of Victorian race fields to receive permission from the racing bodies, Betfair has formally applied to Racing Victoria and the Harness Racing Board for such approval.

The changes to the Gambling Regulation Act 2003 make an offence for wagering operators to publish Victorian race fields without permission from the relevant racing authority.

Betfair said in a statement that it expects its applications to be treated in exactly the same way as the applications submitted by other interstate and overseas wagering operators.

“In exercising public powers, we expect that RVL and HRV will comply with the rules of procedural fairness in making their decisions and, as a result, we are confident that approval will be forthcoming in the very near future.”

The betting exchange decided to remove markets on Victorian thoroughbred and harness race fields for the time being until RVL and HRV have had a reasonable opportunity to consider its applications.

The Virtual FormGuide believes Betfair\’s applications will be refused, in what might be considered a predetermined decision, but Racing Victoria should be careful, so if it rejects Betfair\’s applications on say integrity grounds, then it must also reject all others that do not meet the same criteria.

If Racing Victoria is going to refuse permission to Betfair on the grounds that as an offshore entity it is operating illegally in Victoria, then so too must it refuse permission to William Hill.

If Betfair\’s application is rejected, the company will be able to ask the Victorian Supreme Court to review the decision.

UPDATE: Racing Victoria issued a press release stipulating that “interim approvals” have been given to most Australian wagering operators, including corporate bookmakers licensed in states and territories of Australia, on-course bookmakers licensed in states and territories of Australia, totalisator operators in New Zealand and the mainland states and territories of Australia and race clubs.

Excluded from these initials approvals are betting exchanges and non-mainland totalisator operators, such as Tote Tasmania and the Norfolk Island based AusTote.