Betfair moves on NSW

Online gambling giant Betfair could soon get the go ahead in NSW, giving the company the chance to promote itself to the state's population through advertisements and race sponsorship.

Online gambling giant Betfair could soon get the go ahead in NSW, giving the company the chance to promote itself to the state's population through advertisements and race sponsorship.

While the company accepts bets from punters across Australia, NSW Minister for Gaming and Racing Graham West is set to allow the company to advertise in NSW for the first time.

There have been widespread concerns about such a move from both the racing industry and the local community, with some groups worried that NSW's problem gamblers will get further into debt as Web betting becomes more prominent.

However, a spokesperson for West's office said the state will see no changes aside from a difference in advertising.

The spokesperson added problem gamblers can already participate in the peer-to-peer betting offered by the site, since Betfair already has a licence and is running operations in Tasmania. Currently, 25 percent of the gamblers on the Australian version of the site are NSW residents.

Talk of Betfair's entry into the state follows speculation NSW Premier Morris Iemma could have intervened in the matter after being lobbied by Publishing and Broadcasting Limited, which owns a 50 percent stake in Betfair's Australian operations. The premier's office told ZDNet Australia the rumours are untrue.

The racing industry has reacted against Betfair's proposed arrival in NSW, saying the company allows gamblers to bet on which horse will lose, damaging the integrity of the sport.

Some in the industry have expressed concerns that local betting revenues could dry up as a result of the online company's arrival. Betfair, however, believes the Web-only nature of its business means it offers little direct competition to local betting companies.

Betfair could not immediately be reached for comment.

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