Before yesterday’s meeting between Tasmanian Premier Paul Lennon and
his state’s racing industry officials, speculation was rife that Betfair
was going to be given a government license to operate out of the Apple
Island.

With virtually most of the Australian racing industry lined up against
any move to open the door to the controversial UK-based betting
exchange, Tasmanian racing and government members would have been under
considerable pressure. Surprisingly the meeting wasn’t all doom and
gloom for the racing folks – Lennon assured them there has been no
commitment to issue Betfair a licence. Or at least not
until September when Parliament considers the matter further.

However, Lennon is seen as pro-Betfair and he used yesterday to talk
up the potential extra revenue that could flow into the three
racing
sectors if Betfair were to be granted a licence. The local racing
officials now claim to have an open mind but racing industry forces on
the mainland could get very stroppy if he pushes ahead with the plan.

Lennon needs to be very,
very certain his Betfair play doesn’t become a lemon for his state, and
a very bitter one at that.

Peter Fray

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