Australian MP (Member of Parliament) Nick Xenophon has given out his recommendation the renewal of the country’s interactive gambling act, slamming it as out of date and in need of a complete overhaul and renewal. The Interactive Gambling Act 2001 makes headway to ban access to unregulated websites and prevent the leakage of Australian resident’s money into the websites.
The problem of online gambling affecting Australian residents negatively as a result of a lack of control by the government is seen as a major problem affecting the country’s progress of growth and connectivity with gambling and interactive media. Online gambling in the country is still illegal, whereas online sports wagering is permitted, but regulated heavily. The South Australian independent senator Xenaphon stated when talking to the Sydney Morning Herald: “The Interactive Gambling Act is 10 years old, but it may as well be a century old because it hasn’t kept pace with technological developments and the ruthless advertising of online gambling companies.”
To further substantiate these claims, the Australian Media and Communications Authority (ACMA) released results it had tabulated (prior to Xenophon’s statement) on the number of investigations it had undertaken finding “prohibited gambling material”, indicating that there these investigations have boomed significantly; not necessarily a positive factor. The total number of investigations accumulate in 2006 to 2007 amounted to 8, whilst the year 2010 to 2011 reached a staggering 57, with 38 of these falling under the category of aforementioned “gambling industry”.
Whilst these issues are troubling, Xenophon is still ignoring the fact that other regimes that have been shown to be effective in other parts of Australia, including Queensland and the Northern Territory. Internationally renowned firm bet365 has stated that the central government could lean a lot by analysing the measures undertaken by the territories in order to determine the best change that would facilitate a more favorable outcome. They also continued to say that even if a complete overhaul was chosen, attention must be made on those who have already succeeded if progress is wanted in return for such a drastic change.
In terms of why the gambling act is affecting the country negatively and failing to perform its intended purpose, preventing consumers accessing international sites, the onus of blame falls on the government itself. Despite the increased attention caused by recent federal government intervention to review the act and imposed regulations, politicians from both Australian legislative parties have deemed them to have been unsuccessful in deterring overseas online gambling websites.
At committee hearings, several gambling academics have argued the case that to push forward a change, legal action is necessary and should be immediately imposed against unregulated sites that allow Australians to get involved and play.
[Source: Sydney Morning Herald]