Australia's Northern Territory has almost reluctantly called on licensed bookmakers to stop offering online in-play betting, as it moves to bring the state in line with federal policy.
The state government issued a letter to bookies, telling them that they would need to remove their 'click to call' systems.
This is considered a negative development for foreign owned bookmakers which have, until now, stuck to their claims that in-play betting does not violate Australia's gambling laws.
On the other hand, Tatts, Tabcop and CrownBet will benefit from this decision as they have not introduced in-play systems until now as they waited for the legal fog to lift on the issue.
NT Supports In-Play Betting
According to The Australian, the Northern Territory government actually supports in-play betting.
As such, the government was forced to send an almost apologetic-sounding letter to the four out of five licensed bookmakers in its territory which offer in-play betting.
"This action has not been taken lightly," wrote the Northern Territory Racing Commission chairman, John McBride, "especially in light of the legal advice provided at the time."
In the past, Chief Minister Adam Giles spoke in support of this form of betting and said that the Northern Territory was not a "nanny state".
Fear of Federal Intervention
The NT government has taken moves to ban in-play betting as it wants to protect its right to regulate gambling without federal government intervention.
In his letter to the bookmakers, Mcbride said "by taking immediate action on this matter, the Northern Territory government may head off future action by the federal government which may ultimately result in it taking control of regulation of the online wagering industry."
In the meantime, the federal government expressed satisfaction in the latest developments coming out of the Northern Territory, saying that they were consistent with the government's view that the click to call system "is in breach of the federal act".