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Government warns against betting with illegal operators

Australia’s Black Economy Taskforce is warning punters against using illegal bookmakers during the major sporting events in the year ahead, local media reports.

Racing Victoria integrity boss Dayle Brown said he was concerned that punters were being tempted by illegal bookmakers’ representatives in Australia and being lured to give over their banking details.

“Punters electing to be with unapproved offshore wagering operators are not only transacting with a business which is undermining the racing industry by paying no race-field fees, but they risk doing their money cold," said Brown, quoted by the Brisbane Times.

"In my experience it's a rarity for anyone to win anything from these bookmakers but they'll certainly take your money. They have a systematic way of having the bets placed into Asia as just dragging away from the financial health of racing in Australia," he said.

According to Brown, there are 411 wagering operators approved to publish Victorian and NSW thoroughbred fields and wager on the sport.

Government officials are concerned that first-time punters may be lured to Asian bookmakers through benefits such as longer odds and bonus bets.

"We continually receive information about punters who have bet with unapproved offshore wagering operators and are struggling to get their winnings paid and/or investments returned. Unfortunately for these punters we can't help them and there's no government protections available to them either."

Brown said there has been increased efforts to crack down on illegal gambling channels.

"There is a strong resolve amongst the Australian government, federal law enforcement authorities and the racing industry to address the issue of unapproved offshore wagering and we're working collaboratively to identify the size of the risk and how best address it," Brown said.

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