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Tripp cautions on sports betting growth over-reaction

Thu, Aug 25, 12:05pm by Staff Writer

Crownbet chief executive Matt Tripp has cautioned against an overreaction to the growth in sports betting in Australia, saying over-regulation could cruel the industry in Australia and send punters to overseas operators.

The Australian Gambling Statistics for 2014-15 report was released this week with a 30 per cent growth in sports betting expenditure among the headline figures, prompting calls of tighter advertising regulation for the burgeoning sector.

Sports betting makes up just 3.58 per cent of the overall gambling expenditure by Australians, which topped out at 22.7 billion for 2014-15. Poker machines and casino gambling still make up the lion’s share of that amount.

Tripp, who is one of Australia’s most experienced sports and racing betting executives, told radio station 3AW that the 30 per cent figure was deceptive, because sports betting was coming off a lower base and that overall wagering (racing and sports combined) was growing at under 6 per cent.

Listen to the full interview with with Matt Tripp on 3AW:

The total growth year-on-year spending in overall wagering was around $204 million, compared to gaming (Casinos, Lottery, Gaming Machines etc) which was $1.05 billion.

“I think when you look at the 30 percent increase, I think you have to look at the wagering market as a whole not just the 30 percent increase in the sport align in isolation,” he said.

“And wagering market as whole, is growing broadly in line with the economy, low single digit by comparison to some areas of gambling.

“When looking at the wagering and isolation, which is the space we are playing, it is growing at a very small rate as whole and there’s a misconception out there in the market that there’s a boom of wagering going to the roof.”

Tripp has advocated for corporate bookmakers to be more responsible in advertising, while Crownbet has stayed well away from live in-play betting, two of the most sensitive areas with anti-gambling advocates, including Senator Nick Xenophon.

Tripp said he supported a move by the Victorian government to ban gambling advertising around schools and on public transport, but did caution at taking restrictions too far.

“We need to a little bit careful what we wish for. I think a blanket ban is fraught with danger,” he said. “We’ve worked so hard to make sure that we are operators in a heavily regulated market here in Australia.”

The AGS report did not track the amount of money spent with overseas betting providers, which are not regulated under Australian law.

Estimates put the amount of money spent by Australians with these operators on sports betting to be anything from 25 per cent of the amount spent (roughly $200 million) within Australia to ten times that amount ($8 billion).

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