Punt on fight over remote control betting

Plans for punters to place bets from home using their TVs and remote controls are headed for a parliamentary showdown.

The Federal Opposition will today announce plans to introduce legislation to block a move by Tabcorp and Foxtel to enable gambling via the Sky Racing Channel.

Under the controversial proposal, Tabcorp account holders will be free to gamble on all thoroughbred, harness and greyhound races with their remote controls.

Anti-gambling groups have warned the move, which has been approved by the Victorian Commission for Gambling Regulation, will turn lounge rooms into „gambling dens“.

Opposition communications spokesman Bruce Billson told the Herald Sun: „If the Rudd Government fails to act to stop this new form of in-home gambling, the Opposition will act to amend Commonwealth legislation to outlaw it.

„Mr Rudd talks about problem gambling, but he won’t lift a finger to address a new form of gambling that allows people to lose their shirt without having to put one on.“

The Foxtel-Tabcorp punting system, operated by Sydney-based gambling company Two Way, was expected to be introduced this month.

Victorian Gaming Minister Tony Robinson has said he is confident the new form of punting will not lead to more problem gambling.

But it was revealed last month that the Government’s own ministerial advisory committee for responsible gambling had not been consulted over the TV betting service.

Mr Billson said the Rudd Government had the power to block the move.

„This is an area of clear Commonwealth jurisdiction and Mr Rudd must replace his pantomime of concern about problem gambling with practical and decisive action, even if that means upsetting his Labor mates in the states,“ Mr Billson said.