If reports in today’s Daily Telegraph and Herald Sunare
close to the mark, and the Tasmanian government is on the verge of
giving Betfair/PBL the betting exchange licence it needs to operate
legally in Australia, then Kerry Packer’s sense of timing could hardly
be better. The most strident opposition to the licensing of Betfair,
and its partner, PBL, has come from the Australian racing industry.

The
Australian racing industry has never been more hopelessly divided, and
politically impotent, than it is today. Packer knows this as well as
anyone, as does the Tasmanian premier, Paul Lennon, perhaps the one
remaining political leader in Australia who is a serious racegoer. The
licensing of Betfair/PBL is also stridently, and unsurprisingly,
opposed by the two major TAB operators, Tabcorp and UniTAB… who run
the serious risk of losing a substantial slice of their turnover to
Betfair.

If Tasmania grants Betfair/PBL a licence, then PBL’s investment in Betfair will be activated. And the battle will begin!

The full story is on the Crikey website here.

Peter Fray

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