Tabcorp hold free online gaming licences - Tuesday 12th of April 2005

The Tasmanian Government says an amendment to gaming laws has allowed Kerry Packer's PBL and the gambling company Tabcorp to hold inactive online gaming licences without paying annual fees.

PBL has been negotiating with the Government for a betting exchange.

The amendment to the Gaming Act in 2001 enables PBL to hold a gaming licence without paying annual fees.

The ABC reported PBL had paid the money, but Minister for Finance Jim Cox says the fees are not required.

"I was certainly aware that there had been applications made and, as I said, it had been done in other states and I've really only ever seen it as a business process," he said.

The fees would be payable if PBL operated under its licence.

Meanwhile, Tabcorp says it has never held a Tasmanian gaming licence, despite the Gaming Commission annual reports showing the company has held a licence for five years.

A gaming industry analyst says the companies would be well positioned if Tasmania and other state governments issued betting exchange licences.

Ibisworld's Jason Baker believes it is likely governments will issue those licenses in the future.

"Once the market is freed up, there'll be various parties wanting to get into the online gaming industry in Australia," he said.

"By having existing licences in Tasmania and also potentially in the Northern Territory, PBL and Tabcorp can put the pressure on the state governments to grant them the initial licences because they'll be ready to go when the market is freed up."

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