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Australia to Review Its Remote Gambling Laws
- September 7, 2015 By Oliver Young -
Scott Morrison, Australia’s Social Services Minister, has announced the government’s intention to review the country’s gambling laws or, more precisely, the Interactive Gambling Act of 2001. The Monday statement revealed that the initiative would be spearheaded by the former premier of New South Wales Barry O’Farrell.
Morrison said in his statement that, according to the Australian Institute of Family Studies (AIFS), remote gambling was an AUS$1.6 billion business in the country. He pointed out that sixty percent of that revenue was going “offshore to more than 2,000 sites” that were beyond the reach of Australian regulators and tax collectors.
He went on explaining that unlike Australia’s licensed operators, overseas gambling sites didn’t contribute product fees to sporting and racing bodies as well as they didn’t comply with the country’s legal system. Finally, such sites weren’t obligated to neither monitor nor report any suspicious betting activity.
Illegal Offshore Gambling Leaves Australian Players without Protection
The Social Services Minister Morrison didn’t fail to mention that playing at illegal offshore sites leaves Australian players without protections for receiving payouts. He also warned that gambling addiction is a common thing for hundreds of thousands Australians and by not taxing and monitoring overseas operators his co citizens are in danger of losing “a lot more than their money.”
According to Morrison, there are approximately only 30 legal gaming sites in Australia.
He also claimed that Australians love their gambling and that this recreational activity has been part of who they are for many generations. However, he highlighted that about 2% of the populations, or around 400,000 Australians, were having gambling problem. Morrison said that problem gambling is much more than a problem of an individual and hence he pointed out how crucial it is for the country to find a way to deal with illegal offshore gaming sites that take advantage of gambling addicts.
Additionally, the review of Australia’s gambling laws would also try to target ways of minimising problem gaming within the country and protect individuals “vulnerable to problem gambling.”
The Review Will Start Immediately
The Minister Morrison said that the review of the Interactive Gambling Act of 2001 will start immediately, while the results as well as the final recommendations are scheduled to be given to the parliament on 18th of December the latest.
Some of the terms of reference included in the review are options to educate the public via campaigns and warning as well as analyse the economic impacts of illegal gambling sites on regulated Australian operators. The public is expected to be invited to take part in the process, while the key people of the review will be focused on collecting opinions from various wagering organisations, racing industry companies, professional sports operators and territory governments.
While brick and mortar casinos are well regulated in Australia, the remote gambling industry has always been in the grey area. Finally, as Australian casinos saw their revenue jump thanks to the Macau collapse, legislators decided that it was about time to improve the country’s online gaming performance by improving the law first.