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Betfair Australia CEO Blasts Poker Rivals

Andrew Twaits Rips Into PokerStars and 888 on Blog Describing Them as “Illegal Operators”


Australian betting chief blasts poker rivalsBetfair Australia chief executive operator Andrew Twaits has published a stinging opinion on two of his company’s main poker rivals in Australia.

Writing on his blog earlier this week Twaits bemoaned what he perceives as unfair practices by Betfair competitors. “A handful of the largest illegal operators are actively promoting their products in the Australian media," he worte.

“For instance, the telecast of last summer’s golf season on Channel 10 was sponsored by Poker Stars. Channel 9’s AFL Footy Show allowed an in-program promotion of another illegal operator,, during an appearance by Shane Warne. The Sydney Morning Herald carries a regular column by Poker Stars’ “face of Australia” Joe Hachem, where he promotes his employer and the merits of online poker more generally.

“Many of the operators offering online poker to Australians do so under the guise of ‘.net’ or ‘play for free’ sites. Once customers are on board, they are ‘cross-sold’ to the illegal play-for-money sites… we understand that Poker Stars – a company that continues to ignore the US online poker bans, as well as ours – apparently has 40 staff based somewhere in Sydney and is actively recruiting for more people. Other illegal operators have engaged local advertising agencies.

“The industry generally believes that if/when things open up in the US, they’ll take the former approach. Those who have operated illegally don’t stand a chance of being licensed. That is unless they do what Party Gaming did and enter a “non-prosecution agreement” with the US government. These agreements appear to come at a significant price. In Party Gaming’s case, they reported that it will cost them US$105 million over the next four years.

“Whether it’s a more effective system of prevention and prosecution or, more realistically, a more liberal regulatory regime that gives law-abiding local operators a chance to compete with the offshore rogues, Australia’s approach to online poker needs to change.”

The full blog can be read here.