Betfair won case against the Western Australian government

Online sportsbetting companies in New South Wales, Australia will be encouraged by the news this week that the successful Betfair case against the Western Australian government in March 2008 is contributing to a general freeing up of the promotional market in Australia.

The Sydney Morning Herald reports that NSW online bookies have been contacted by the NSW office of Liquor Racing and Gaming with the information that the government would comply with the ruling of the High Court in the Betfair case earlier this year

In the ruling the judiciary declared the prohibitive legislation stopping bookies from promoting and advertising in the territory was outdated and constituted a restraint of trade, opening the way for bookies in other states to open up the market.

While Betfair and fellow corporate bookmaker, Sportingbet, combined to take the running and jointly challenge Sections 29 and 30 of the Racing Administration Act in the Federal Court, Centrebet was the first to take advantage of the new situation.

The LRG communication advised recipients that enforcement actions are on hold, advising: "The High Court judgment in Betfair versus State of Western Australia has raised constitutional issues over the validity of Section 30 in its application to interstate wagering operators. Until these issues are resolved, this office will not be initiating any prosecution action under Section 30 for advertising by or on behalf of a wagering operator licensed in an Australian jurisdiction. Should this position change, appropriate warnings will be given to wagering operators and publishers."

The laws referred to in the Betfair-WA judgement protected state-owned gambling companies. Following the ruling, the gambling group Tabcorp successfully applied for a Northern Territory online betting licence that will enable it to commpete with several established online betting companies, among them Centrebet.

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