Australian bookies are celebrating the lifting of advertising restrictions

Australian bookies are celebrating the lifting of advertising restrictions in the Victoria and New South Wales provinces of the country announced this week by Victoria's racing minister Rob Hull and NSW Minister for Gaming and Racing Kevin Greene.

The restrictions previously stopped bookies licensed in other Aussie states from advertising in the two territories.

Hull commented: "The proposed changes will create an opportunity for bookmakers in both Victoria and New South Wales to grow their businesses through advertising generally and will also provide new revenue streams for racing clubs in both states through advertising and race sponsorship."

NSW Minister for Gaming and Racing Kevin Greene confirmed that the opening up of advertising was a consequence of the Betfair litigation in the High Court earlier this year (see previous InfoPowa report) which had successfully raised constitutional issues in relation to laws prohibiting interstate wagering operators from advertising in several Australian states.

Both governments have confirmed that moves are afoot to reform the advertising regulations, and that there will be no further prosecutions going forward - but emphasised that restrictions on overseas bookmakers would remain.

Betstar's Michael Eskander, a vocal crusader on the issue, said relaxation of the laws would see extra money put back into racing.
"I've been making a lot of noise about this for a long, long time. It's a shame it has taken this long, but now we have the avenue to put more money back into the industry," Eskander said.

"That will happen through advertising and we are very keen to do some serious sponsorship. We're already in talks with a couple of New South Wales clubs."

Eskander said Betstar had 26 billboards in NSW and 21 in Victoria.

Sportingbet Australia chief executive Michael Sullivan, who joined with Betfair to legally challenge the advertising restrictions, welcomed the news.

"We're thrilled it's been resolved so quickly," he said. "We've been advertising in NSW for three to four weeks, but we'll start in Victoria now.

"Sponsorship also interests us a lot. It's too late for the spring carnival, but I'll start talking to clubs from Monday."

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