Today’s Herald Sunsplash
appears to have nailed Paul Lennon for misleading the Tasmanian
parliament over Packer hospitality. He was upgraded by Crown Casino’s
hotel while doing a deal to license Packer’s Betfair, contrary to his
denials last year in the House.

But Lennon is not the only scalp being sought over this story, written by former Hobart Mercury
hackette Ellen Whinnett. News Ltd papers have been running a
strident anti-Betfair campaign ever since the UK operation sought to
gain a foothold in the Australian wagering market.

News has jumped into bed with the monopoly TABs – who in turn have
ramped up their subsidies for coverage of their betting products in
News Ltd papers – and today’s story indicates that they are going for
the jugular against Betfair. The key factor here is the death of Kerry
Packer.

What remains to be seen is whether James Packer has the appetite for a
massive fight with News over Betfair – or whether he will signal a
truce as the battle for the nation’s gambling billions escalates.

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey

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