Asian Racing Conference In Sydney - The Great Debate, by Greg Tingle - 13th April 2010

The Australian - Asia Pacific gaming and racing industry developments maintain fever pitch.

Media Man and Gambling911 probe the situation down under...

The Australian horse racing industry is traditionally the bread and butter of Aussie betting, going back to the good old days when both illegal bookies like Eric Frazer Tingle (relation) and wheeler dealers like the late George Freeman (Underbelly fame) shared in a slice of the action with the once otherwise monopoly known as the TAB (Totalisator Agency Board). Our old mate "Big" Tim Bristow, who we understand gets referred to in books such as 'Not For Publication' and 'The Gambling Man' also played a role, which could be described as "unofficial" or as an "enforcer". In the old days folks often paid to avoid "bad luck" and of course "insurance" against risk.

Things have progressed since the 1950-80 golden like era, however politics, legals, big bucks and an 'Underbelly' still remain, albeit in different shades.

Today saw the 33rd Asian Racing Conference being held in Sydney.

The stellar event played host to a rivalry far more fierce than that between racing king Bart Cummings and queen Gai Waterhouse.

"The Great Debate", sees Racing NSW chief executive Peter V'landys go tooth and nail with Betfair co-founder Edward Wray, reports Fairfax Media.

Betfair, an internet-based betting exchange, half-owned by casino king James Packer (like half of Australia it seems at times), has launched a legal challenge against the racing authority's decision to charge it fees based on turnover rather than profit.

The arguments are complex, but there's millions, if not billions at stake.

Racing NSW has put $60 million bucks aside to return to corporate bookies should they lose, with the verdict due later this month.

Betfair is hoping Federal Court judge Nye Perram is more impartial than the gent in charge of today's debate, Australian Racing Board chief executive Andrew Harding, advise Fairfax Media. A bit of history... at a similar racing conference in 2004, Harding gave an impassioned presentation billed "Australia Against Betfair."

Punters, times are a changing, as Tycoon's such as James Packer are almost unstoppable at the moment, and Aussie's are open to betting alternatives.

Something tells us that both state and federal governments are going to be key factors, as will "legal eagles", and not to any surprise, Betfair can and do engage the best that money can buy.

The late news... Betfair is also aiming to provide an online poker and online casino service to Australians. Rivals such as PartyGaming and Centrebet continue to demonstrate that they enjoy a punt online, not just restricted to the four legged variety... the horses and the doggies, oh, or the occasional Pink Pigeon birdies (yet another Aussie fair dinkum betting event that our birdie friend tells us Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and Senator Stephen Conroy wouldn't mind seeing censored, or shutdown completely).

Rumor of the week... Illegal Australian gambling dens and betting rings to make a comeback "down under", as censorship threatens (and pisses off) punters. All good fodder for 'Underbelly' 5 and 6. Aussie Aussie Aussie, Oi Oi Oi, Aussie Oi Aussie Oi Aussie Aussie Aussie, Oi Oi Oi!

*Greg Tingle is a special contributor for Gambling911

*Media Man http://www.mediamanint.com is primarily a media, publicity and internet portal development company. They own and operate over 20 website portals including Racing News Media http://www.racingnewsmedia.com

*The writer participates in the Betfair affiliate program via agency DGM and is a shareholder in Crown Casino

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