Net gaming providers

Australia’s Internet gaming providers have called for the Federal Government to overhaul its proposal to ban all online gaming.

The industry is pushing for wagering or sports betting to be excluded from the ban.

A Senate Committee hearing into the Federal Government’s controversial interactive gambling bill at the weekend heard from a number of Australian companies calling for significant changes to the bill as it stands.

The majority argued that Australian-based Internet providers will be pushed offshore if the ban proceeds.

CANBET’s Richard Farmer agrees that the legislation would make it difficult for operators to stay in Australia.

“As the act stand now, no prudent person can operate,” he said.

The committee heard predictions that 99 per cent of Australian providers will move overseas if the bill is passed.

Australian Racing Board chairman Robert Charely says that is a big concern.

“We’re concerned about offshore operators offering our citizens the chance to bet on our racing and returning no revenue to our industry,” he said.

Rank Group Website Relaunch

Rank Group PLC’s Rank Interactive Gaming Ltd said it re-launched Rank.com, its first on-line gaming site, in a wider-reaching format today.

The site – initially launched in Nov 2001 to Mecca Bingo members – will now be promoted to a wider audience via a multi-million pound marketing campaign aimed at both male and female players.

Rank.com offers users a choice of free-to-play and pay-to-play games that currently include a mix of numbers games and fruit machine style wagers and has the UK’s largest potential jackpot online – £500,000 from a single game, the group said.

Over the coming weeks Rank.com will be adding further games and announcing several strategic alliances with key partners, it said.

“As a relatively late entrant into the online gaming market Rank.com has the benefit of learning from the mistakes of others,” said managing director of Rank Interactive Gaming, Damian Cope.

The Rank Group recently announced that its Rank Interactive Gaming subsidiary has been awarded a licence to operate an online casino, by the Isle of Man Government.

This second interactive gaming site is due to go live later this year.