Aussie Gambling News for September 2019
Gambling is an important part of Australian culture. From pokies in pubs to lottery draws, gambling can potentially change lives overnight.
However, this hobby has more than its fair share of detractors. Some would prefer to see tighter regulations, while others desire an outright ban on gambling. Either way, the controversies generated by these struggles make for plenty of interesting headlines.
September is almost over, so I thought this would be a good time to look back on the month. The following are some of the most notable events related to Aussie gambling.
Three Punters Win Top Powerball Prize
On September 19th, a trio of punters won a share of the record-setting $150 million Powerball draw. Each winner will receive $50 million.
So far, two winners have been identified. One is a father from Sydney, while another is a male from Brisbane. The third ticket was purchased in Brassall, Queensland, but the owner has yet to come forward.
Betfair vs Hong Kong Jockey Club
Betfair Australia offers a betting exchange on horse racing in Hong Kong. However, that hasn’t set well with the prestigious Hong Kong Jockey Club.
The HKJC issued a letter which detailed a number of grievances. The main complaint involved the integrity of the sport. There were several other gripes, but the HKJC downplayed any possible monetary losses. During the recent start of the season, however, Betfair Australia picked up more than $400,000 that might have otherwise went to the organization.
Whittlesea Wants Pokie Reforms
After annual losses rose $1.4 million, the Victorian city of Whittlesea wants pokie reforms. In the past year, residents have recorded daily losses of $303,715.
At a recent meeting, the city council agreed to appeal to the government of Victoria for assistance. Other possible solutions include raising awareness and working to help those with gambling addictions.
According to one council member, the efforts aren’t about prohibition. Instead, it’s about regulating access to poker machines.
Melco and Crown Temporarily Suspend Deal
In June, James Packer announced his intention to sell 20% of his shares in Crown Resorts. His partner was Melco Resorts & Entertainment, and the deal was worth $1.76 billion.
In September, however, the deal was put on hold for 60 days due to an investigation by New South Wales regulators. There are two reasons for this.
First, Melco is owned by the Ho family, specifically billionaire Stanley Ho. For years, rumours have persisted about his involvement with organized crime. Aussie officials have went to great lengths to keep this family from gaining a foothold in Oz.
Second, Crown Resorts has been involved in troubles of their own. Their scandal also involves organized crime, as well as possible governmental corruption.
Gaming Law Changes in Western Australia
Western Australia has always had stricter regulations regarding pokies, but some are afraid that this may be changing. The ban on virtual gaming machines was relaxed earlier this month. This will allow punters to wager on virtual racing machines.
The change should allow the sale of the Western Australia TAB. There is, however, a provision to allow simulated gambling in TAB outlets. Some community members fear this will create a loophole to allow the presence of pokies.
Big Losses for Casino Canberra
At the start of the year, Casino Canberra announced its sale to Blue Whale Entertainment. This came after negotiations with the ACT government fell apart regarding a proposed expansion. However, for the first half of 2019, Casino Canberra reported losses of $2,553,772.
That wraps up our look at Aussie gambling news throughout the month of September. If you’d like to learn more, just drop by our news section once a week.