Govt Moves On Internet Gambling
29 April 2016 at 10:14 am
The federal government is to rein in online sports betting as part of a plan to introduce a national consumer protection framework within the next 12 months.
Responding to a national review of offshore internet gambling, the government said that based on the review’s recommendations it proposed a three-staged approach, which included the establishment of a national consumer protection framework to empower individual gamblers to ensure that problem gambling is minimised.
It will amend current law to make it clear that it is illegal for unlicensed overseas gambling companies to offer gambling products to Australians and to provide stronger enforcement mechanisms for the Australian Communications and Media Authority.
As well, the government said it would introduce other disruption measures to curb illegal offshore gambling activity.
In September 2015, then minister for social services Scott Morrison asked Barry O’Farrell to conduct a review of the impact of illegal offshore wagering .
The review was conducted to investigate the size and scope of the illegal offshore wagering problem and advise the government on ways to strengthen regulatory enforcement and protect Australians from illegal offshore wagering operators.
Financial Counselling Australia welcomed the government’s response and said it was relieved that the government had decided not to legalise in-play betting.
“This is the single most significant harm prevention initiative in the package. In-play betting would have resulted in a massive expansion of the online betting market, and huge consumer losses and detriment,” FCA’s director of policy, Lauren Levin, said.
“We are also pleased that the government will stop online betting companies circumventing the current laws against in-play betting, by using ‘click to call’ mechanisms.
“We urge the government and all parties to introduce the enabling legislation as soon as possible. Given this development, the companies currently circumventing the law have a moral and ethical obligation stop the practice immediately, rather than waiting for law reform.”