Thursday 10. November, 2016

Australia Introduces New Bill to Protect Online Gamblers

A new bill has been introduced into Australian parliament that aims to restrict offshore gambling operators and prevent them acting unscrupulously towards Australians and taking advantage of punters.

The Interactive Gambling Amendment Bill 2016 was introduced into parliament by the communications minister, Mitch Fifield, on Thursday. This bill comes after a detailed review of the existing legislation was conducted in 2015, led by former NSW premier, Barry O’Farrell.

The review estimated that up to $400 million was being gambled with illegal offshore operators. Of the 19 recommendations in the report, the government accepted 18 in April. This new bill is the first of three stages of the recommendations.

One of the primary issues raised in the review and accepted by the government was the issue of in-play betting. Specifically it looked to close the loophole that allows the click-to-call facility available via many online operators that allowed in-play betting from an online operator, when the law limits it to bets placed via phone. The government has since closed that loophole causing backlash from online operators.

“Currently hundreds of illegal gambling services are easily accessible on the Internet,” stated human services minister, Alan Tudge.

“We expect online wagering providers to meet community expectations. The tougher laws will seriously disrupt illegal offshore providers from acting unscrupulously or targeting vulnerable Australians.”

“The government is committed to taking tougher action against illegal offshore wagering providers and this bill does exactly that.”

The bill details specific illegal gambling services that will be allowed to operate if they meet specific conditions. The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) will be given the power to provide information about illegal gambling services to International regulators. In addition, they will have the authority to issue warning, infringement notices, civil penalties and injunctions.


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