Six-month wait for Betfair ruling

A decision in the marathon High Court case involving Betfair’s challenge to Western Australia’s anti-gambling exchange laws is now expected within six months.

After three days of argument last month, counsel for Betfair, Stephen Gageler SC, returned to Canberra yesterday to wrap up his case. He has argued the WA laws breach Section 92 of the constitution, which protects freedom of trade between the states.

He says WA has also failed to show any legitimate reason for moving against the company, which is 50 per cent-owned by James Packer’s Crown.

The case was heard by the court without any preliminary hearing and attracted comment from the bench about the volume of submissions. Judge Michael Kirby said they were the longest he had seen. „I cannot imagine the high court of the United States or Canada sitting for three days to hear a trial case like this.“

NSW, South Australia, Queensland and Victoria supported WA‘s bid to ban Betfair, while Tasmania argued in support of the internet operator. The commonwealth made submissions on the effect of Section 92.