Packer meeting fuels online gambling deal fears - Tuesday 12th of April 2005

The Tasmanian Government has broken ranks with its interstate counterparts on the controversial issue of online gambling. The ABC has learnt that at a recent racing ministers meeting, all states but Tasmania agreed not to license Internet betting exchanges.

The British agency, Betfair, backed by Australian company Publishing and Broadcasting Limited (PBL), wants a licence to set up in Tasmania.

The State Government has confirmed it met with PBL executive chairman James Packer on Monday, but would not disclose the nature of its discussions.

Opposition racing spokeswoman Sue Napier says an online betting exchange would severely damage the industry in Tasmania.

"The Australian racing industry will cut loose the Tasmanian racing industry," she said.

"Now whether that means they are going to charge product fees, or whether that means they are going to refuse to recognise and license Tasmanian participants ... there won't be the dollars coming into the industry to compensate for the loss of Sky and other sources."

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