The federal government has been accused of ignoring a recommendation in a parliamentary report into online wagering that calls for consultation with Australian punters.

Richard Irvine, a well-known advocate and campaigner for punters’ rights, was denied a request to meet with Communications Minister Michelle Rowland following the release of the ‘You Win Some, You Lose More’ report last year after an exhaustive public inquiry.

The inquiry, chaired by the late federal Labor MP Peta Murphy, listed 31 recommendations to deal with the impacts of online gambling.

One of those recommendations made it clear that the government should seek information from punters to establish minimum bet limits for online wagering service providers (WSPs) as part of a new national regulatory body.

As the racing and wagering industries await the Albanese government’s action on the report, a Freedom Of Information document has revealed that of 66 meetings Rowland held last year between June 29 and December 11, Irvine was left on the outer.

The document, obtained by Michael West Media, showed Rowland and her office met with some of Australia’s highest-profile bookmakers, various racing industry administrations and stakeholders, along with prominent and not-so-prominent sporting bodies.

Social media platforms such as TikTok, Meta and Google were also involved in talks that were held behind closed doors.

But Irvine, who has spent the past decade as an unofficial but well-educated and respected voice in the Australian wagering landscape, is annoyed he couldn’t get an audience.

“One of the recommendations said the government should liaise with industry and people who gamble to form a national minimum bet limit,” Irvine told The Straight.

“So they’ve been told to speak to people who gamble but they haven’t.”

“In my letter, I said to her (Rowland) if I can’t have a meeting can you please at least write back saying you have acknowledged my email and you’ve read it all and I couldn’t even get that.”

Irvine received a response from Andrew Verdon, Director, Broadcasting and Gambling Regulation, which stated the minister was unable to meet with him or respond personally to her email.

“One of the recommendations said the government should liaise with industry and people who gamble to form a national minimum bet limit” - Richard Irvine

Irvine says punters desperately need the racing industry’s support to provide an overdue voice on wagering issues.

A meeting with a principal racing authority this week could be the first step towards him achieving that aim of forming a body that includes all three codes of racing, Tabcorp and a representative from Responsible Wagering Australia.

“The racing industry should set up a wagering industry working committee with the government and run it for two years,” he said.

“That would be amazing for punters to have a representative there and it can actually get stuff done and address the issues that we face.

“It would have to be a proper body. There’s no point in us (punters) having a union if it’s not recognised so that’s the pathway for that. I’m all for it but I just don’t want to waste time.”

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Irvine believes this can be a platform for enforcing minimum bet limits while ensuring new wagering operators conform to industry standards as evidence mounts some smaller bookmakers are utilising anti-money laundering laws to restrict punters.

“We need a national minimum bet limit that bookies can’t find their way around - that bookies can’t find loopholes and try and not honour,” he said.

“We also want the federal government to do a thorough investigation into how a small minority of bookmakers use anti-money laundering laws.

“To make sure they don’t use them to their advantage to not pay punters and not bet punters who are about to bet.”

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Irvine said major wagering operators such as Sportsbet and Entain have thrown their support behind a national minimal betting obligation.

“The big bookies aren’t the problem,” he said.

“It’s the smaller bookies who have come in the past few years and see all the hundred of millions dollars the big corporates make and say ‘we want a piece of that’.

“And when they get there they realise, like any business, you’ve got to start out small and build your way up.

“And when the business isn’t going well they resort to trying not to bet (with) anyone who might make it harder for them to make money.

“At the moment we’ve got a bunch of rules, the bookies aren’t playing by them but the regulators aren’t doing anything about it.

“We just want it resolved.

“That’s all we want but we can’t get a meeting. The industry has sort of degenerated over the last five years to the point where it is worse than it has ever been.”