A recent controversy played out in Australia over a service offered by some online bookmakers. The service in question was click to call, and on the surface was not a very sinister service at all. It simply offered users a button on a mobile phone application, which when tapped initiated an automatic call to a bookmaker.
The result was a bet being placed in just seconds of time. How was this worthy of an outcry? Very simply because live online sport betting is illegal in Australia. Confused? Let’s have a closer look.
Keep in mind that sport betting itself is legal in Australia, with Australians allowed to place bets on any sporting event they choose. This can be done online or at a real world bookmaker. The sticking point is that live sport betting is not allowed online, only via a telephone call. Live sport betting refers to bets placed while a sport event is already underway. This is not allowed online, and is very strictly prohibited. The click to call button in bookmaker mobile phone applications was, technically, making a phone call to the bookmaker, which allowed bets to be placed during a live game.
Click To Call Banned
The laws themselves can all be a bit confusing, and have been a point of much controversy in the country as it stands. Live sport betting is legal in Europe, some groups have pointed out, and there have been no downsides to speak of. But the law is the law in Australia, and the click to call button was a step too far, at least in the eyes of the government.
Tapping a button was deemed to not be the same thing as making a phone call, which stands to reason, regardless of what tapping the button actually did in technical terms. In other words; the click to call application button was a giant legal loophole. Regardless, bookmaker applications were forbidden from using click to call in Australia. A statement was made by the federal government that explicitly told bookmakers to remove the service.
The Spirit Of The Law
Many new arguments and debates flared up over the banning of the click to call application button. A number of groups again called the gambling laws in Australia outdated and archaic, with the apposing groups saying that it was essential that gambling be closely regulated, lest the situation get out of control.
There were, as there have been in the past, calls for the gambling laws in Australia to be updated and adapted. There has been no sign that the Australian government tends to do so, however. As it stands, live sport betting in the country remains illegal online. It has been noted by many groups, though, that many Australians still take part in live sport betting online, using international betting websites. It should be noted that the same laws that forbid live sport betting also specify that it is the party providing the service that is to be punished, and not the person using the service. So Australian citizens cannot be punished for taking part in online live sport betting.