Odds shorten on a licence for Betfair - Sunday 12th of June 2005

The State Government is in the advanced stages of discussions with online gambling broker Betfair but has ruled out a social impact study on the effects of it being licensed in Tasmania. While the UK Internet betting exchange already operates in Australia, it needs a licence in at least one state to enable it to advertise.Premier Paul Lennon said yesterday during a Budget estimates hearing that an impact study was not in consideration.

"We're not considering a social impact study on this particular application at this stage," Mr Lennon said."I don't believe if we have to go down that path we'd do it for one licence holder."Tasmanian Greens Leader Peg Putt said it was highly irresponsible to seek profit from expanded gaming facilities without studying the broader implications."The potential for increased gaming promotion could be like a neon light drawing problem gamblers to another avenue to feed their habit," Ms Putt said.But Mr Lennon said that it was potentially easier to monitor Internet gambling better than other forms because users must register themselves.

"I think there's a case to be made for better probity," Mr Lennon said.He said it would also be surprising if the style of service was attractive to the smaller punter.He said while a decision on whether to license the company was not imminent the discussions were in the advanced stages.

www.examiner.com.au

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