“The Betfair deal is now forever compromised”

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Opposition leader Rene Hidding told Parliament that the Tasmanian Premier Paul Lennon attended Kerry Packer\’s PBL marquee and stayed at the Packer-owned Crown Casino during the Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival last week, creating a very damaging perception over the whole Betfair deal.

Hidding said that it was absolutely inappropriate for the Premier to accept hospitality from Betfair\’s joint partner two days before he announced the decision to grant a license to the betting exchange.

“It was the right thing for the Premier to stay at arm\’s length from all corporate entertainment,” said Hidding.

“I stayed at Crown Casino during the Melbourne Cup Carnival with the accommodation costs to be met by the Government,” responded Lennon. “Whilst at the races I visited the Crown and AAMI marquees.”

Lennon denied he had received any inappropriate hospitality or services during his visit and said that it was a sad indictment on the Opposition that they chose to look at ill-founded allegations rather than debate the substance of the Betfair deal.

The Gaming Control Amendment (Betting Exchange) Bill 2005 has been introduced to Parliament and will be debated in the next couple of days.

Here is a copy of the Bill.