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Australian Gaming Laws: Why the Ban?

Wednesday, November 29, 2017 12:49
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Gaming continues to thrive as an ever-growing industry, expanding its services and gaming experiences throughout the world both via traditional land-based casinos and of course online. It’s big business and there are many gambling operators out there having a lot of success mostly thanks to the fast-moving way in which advances in technology are helping it move forward.

Smart-based tech has already helped expand the number of devices and modern platforms that a myriad of popular casino-based games has been developed more and this has vastly helped the number of users and online players that now regularly place bets and participate in some form of casino action.

Gambling is a very popular pastime in Australia and whilst operators are doing their best to take full advantage of the high number of luck-seeking Aussies out there the government are doing their best to put a stop to it. In 2001 Australia’s federal parliament passed a new Interactive Gambling Act which looked to prohibit online gambling.

The Act included the vast majority of popular casino games such as blackjack, roulette and of course poker. But due to a number of unforeseen “loopholes” it has been necessary for them to introduce the Interactive Gambling Amendment Bill 2016. The Bill itself has not only helped to outlaw online poker but also outlaw in-play sports betting.

The World is Online

Liberal Democrats senator David Leyonhjelm claimed the amendment to be “stupid”. According to Leyonhjelm “If you want to play poker, there are lots of opportunities in Australia, at casinos and tournaments. It’s not as if there isn’t a great deal of poker playing already, but they’re just stopping it online. The whole world is online now.”

The amendment aims to further restrict online gambling including live sports betting as well as in-play events in order to help kerb potential issues of match-fixing. Now betting cannot be accepted once an event or sporting fixture has begun, even over the phone, which is one of the major loopholes that was getting around the original Bill with operators utilising a ‘click to call’ feature through their apps and websites in order to speed up the whole process. This type of service has now been completely banned.

One of the major concerns over these recent changes is the potential for online gamblers to be pushed into using other less trustworthy betting sites overseas. Anyone with an offshore account or using a VPN (virtual private network) can access most gambling sites around the world and so any online customer will be freely able to play online no matter if they’re based down under or not.

Of course many places around the world still don’t have legitimate or official governing bodies that control gambling sites in their own countries and so more fraudulent sites and services will be readily available to Australian gamblers. This could now force players to turn away from domestic sites and seek out alternative ones overseas, some of which could be less reliable and in worst cases fake. It is feared that this example of an offshore operator could help promote the black market and have completely the opposite impact that the Australian government were looking for in the first place by introducing such Bills.

Are We Not Adults

It’s unclear what these changes really mean for the Australian public but the argument should be that if there are responsible gamblers out there seeking out reliable and trustworthy places to place bets and enjoy the casino experience, even in an online environment, then the government should be doing all it can to help not hinder.


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