Tuesday 9. August, 2016

eSports Betting to be Banned in South Australia

The South Australian government is banning all gambling on computer and video game competitions in a move to protect children from the potential impacts of problem gambling.

This action will ban betting on an entire online market and comes shortly after the state government announced the introduction of a point of consumption tax on online gambling companies that offer services within the state.

Governments across Australia have been approached to legalise betting on esports competitions; however the Northern Territory is the only jurisdiction that currently allows this betting. Video games such as Counter Strike: Global Offensive have grown significantly in popularity around the world. Players can place bets on their favourite teams or players and many Australian online bookmakers offer markets on esports competitions.

These games attract not only professional players, but are particularly attractive to children. Gambling on esports is available only for over-18s at Australian online betting sites; however players can trade skins on third-party sites.

“Children are particularly vulnerable to the attraction of gambling on sporting contests conducted on the platform of video games,” said Consumer and Business Affairs Minister, John Rau.

“The government is determined to keep our children cyber-safe. We do not want them to be introduced to gambling under the guise of a game.”

This announcement comes shortly after Independent SA Senator and anti-gambling activist Nick Xenophon referred to esports gambling as the “Wild West of gambling” and called on the government to ban it.

Despite the government admitting that there is little research into the potential dangers of this type of gambling, Mr Rau announced that he advised the Independent Gambling Authority to dismiss requests to allow betting on esports events. The government will continue to promote educational online games that do not involve betting.

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