The Australian Wagering Council (AWC) Disbands After Major Hits

The Australian Wagering Council, the AWC, is the biggest and the most prominent lobby organization that represents some of the major internet offshore gaming enterprises. After so many strikes to the entity, this organization will cease to exist and will no longer function in its existing form. The major reasons for that sudden move are the withdrawal of some of the key members and companies from the council’s body, and the legislative defeat in Australia.

Previously, the Australian Wagering Council consisted of several major key players as founding members. These members include Sportsbet, the company which is owned by the Irish internet gambling giant Paddy Power, as well as some of the biggest names that are based in the United Kingdom such as Bet365, William Hill, Ladbrokes, Betfair and Unibet which is based in Malta.

Last April, the Aussie government has made a move in order to prohibit internet gaming sites from providing Aussie citizens with the “In-Play” wagering service. This service allows the punters to place bets in real time on sporting events that are undergoing, rather than placing them before the game. This ban on in play bets, which resulted in almost 500,00 Australian dollars each week to the online sportsbooks that are located off shore, was strongly supported by the big domestic companies in Australia such as Tatts Group and Tabcorp. This is because these two saw that their market share in the Aussie market was being lost to the member companies of the AWC.

The big hit to the Council started with the withdrawal of Ladbrokes from the council, after agreeing to comply with the orders of the government and ceased to offer its in-play wagering services. Although the AWC has launched a counter attack by launching a very organized lobbying push, so they can sway the key legislators to overturn the decisions, but the AWC failed at the end, and the ban was not lifted. Following the rise of Nick Xenophon, the anti-gambling figure in Australia, to the position of Kingmaker in the new government, all of the debate over the in-play wagering ban ended.

Responding to its failure to achieve the main legislative objectives of the council, William Hill soon followed the steps of Ladbrokes as it removed itself from the council completely.  According to the CEO of the council, Ian Fletcher, the recent developments are going to cause the group to be forced to reassess its viability level.

During an interview earlier this month with The Australian, Fletcher has detailed the different reasons that led to the disband of the AWC, and pointed specifically to the decision of William Hill to exit. On the other hand, Ian Fletcher stated that the current body is working to re-organize and to renew the body, and vowed that the new and restructured edition of the AWC is going to continue working on behalf of the internet gambling companies that are located offshore and offer services in the Aussie market.