Live betting ban paternalistic and pointless

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Rick Wallace at The Australian has a report on the federal government’s review into illegal offshore wagering today, which features recent analysis undertaken by Chris Berg and I:

In a submission to the review, the Institute of Public ­Affairs has urged Mr O’Farrell to make in-play betting legal by repealing the Howard-era ban on betting live via the internet. “The ban on ‘live’ or ‘in the run’ betting is technologically ­illiterate and easy to avoid,” IPA researchers Chris Berg and Simon Breheny write. “Techniques that firms have used to arbitrage around the legislative framework demonstrate the weakness of legislative controls.

“Live betting offers consumers more choice, greater participation in spectator sport and the opportunity to manage betting risk more responsibility.”

The IPA also rejects the push from the betting industry in Australia to ban punters from accessing overseas betting sites, calling it “a form of rent seeking”. It ­believes moves to force internet service providers to block overseas gambling sites is a form of protectionism and censorship.

“Restrictions on online betting … are paternalistic and unjustifiable on liberal democratic grounds. Policymakers cannot assume that imposing their scepticism of the benefits of gambling is a reflection of the actual preferences of consumers,” it says.

Read our submission here.

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