Australia Reviews The Interactive Gambling Act

Published Saturday, March 05, 2011 -

The most interesting online gambling news of late has been the situation in the USA regarding the legalization of the industry in various States of the Union. Looking at the other side of the world in Australia the states there seem to be going through similar growing pains with some areas being for online gambling and others not.
MP Andrew Wilkie, the Australian minister who sits on the parliamentary committee for gambling reform warns there is a need to reform the ''Wild West'' industry. It was noted that Australians lost $1 billion AUD last year alone.
As part of a deal to support Julia Gillard as Prime Minister, Wilkie chairs the committee, which is charged with reviewing the subject after it finishes dealing with mandatory pre-commitments on poker machines.
During the election campaign Wilkie experienced a constituent who told him her former partner had lost $50,000 gambling online. Wilkie commented on the motivation for his action plan to review online gambling in Australia, ''For me, gambling reform is not a theoretical public policy issue, it's a human tragedy … I will never forget those stories and I will never forget those people.'' He continued explaining there was strong evidence that online gambling was a ''significant problem in Australia and it's only going to get worse''.
Some critics claim the police turn a blind eye when it comes to enforcing the Interactive Gambling Act which allows for sports betting on the internet but prohibits poker and all other internet gambling offerings. Federal police have received all of 17 complaints since 2001 about suspected illegal gambling operators but no charges have ever been laid.
An extensive and expensive Productivity Commission report tabled just prior to the general election in Australia recently recommended regulation for online poker, something which most pro gambling welcomed as a step forward.
Jamie Nettleton a lawyer and gambling expert said, ''History shows that prohibition doesn't work. Where there's demand there'll be supply, and it's better for that to be regulated, so it's controlled rather than uncontrolled.''



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