Queensland will introduce the minimum bet rule after all, it was announced last week to the delight of serious punters in the state.
The new rules will bring Queensland in line with NSW and Victoria in offering bettors a fair crack of the whip by forcing bookmakers to bet all punters to lose a minimum amount.
That’s especially good for winning punters, or big bettors, whose bets are often refused by off-course corporate bookmakers.
The state’s gambling laws will be amended, hopefully by July, to reflect a new framework recommended by the Racing Queensland Board. This includes minimum bet amounts of $2,000 for metropolitan thoroughbred meetings and $1,000 for non-metropolitan thoroughbred race meetings.
Currently, on-track bookmakers in Queensland are required to bet any customer to lose a minimum of $1,000; however, online companies licensed outside the state are not bound by these regulations.
New South Wales introduced the rule in 2014, followed in 2016 by Victoria. The minimum amount you need to bet to lose in those states is also between $1000 and $2000, depending on the status of the race meeting.
Queensland was expected to announce the rule change in January, as part of the new Race Information Fees deal between corporate bookmakers and the industry, but failed to do so, leading to an outcry from punters and racing bodies alike.
Government Finally Does the Minimum
Racing Queensland chief executive Eliot Forbes said that his organisation voted to approve the rule this month following a period of consultation with betting operators, racing authorities in NSW and Victoria and other stakeholders.
That consultation was “conducted as part of a wider review of race information fees and ongoing monitoring of frameworks in place interstate,” he added.
Racing Minister Grace Grace, who came under flak for the failure to implement the change in January, when she said that the Queensland Government had “no intention” to implement the minimum bet rule, has completely changed her tune.
She said she believes the rule will “ bring Queensland into line with the major southern racing jurisdictions in a further sign of the stronger commercial focus we’re bringing to the local racing industry.”
Fair Wagering Australia, which loudly criticized Grace in January, was over the moon.
“Queensland horse racing will now become one of the most dynamic and vibrant gambling markets in the world,” said organisation spokesman Richard Irvine.
“This will be to the industry’s great betterment.’’