Australia introduces bill to restrict online gambling operations

Tougher laws will stop illegal offshore providers acting unscrupulously or targeting vulnerable Australians, says human services minister

A new bill to tighten restrictions on offshore operators that operate online gambling services in Australia has been unveiled by the federal government.

On Thursday the communications minister, Mitch Fifield, introduced the Interactive Gambling Amendment bill 2016 into parliament, which aims to stymie online gambling operations.

Following a review of the existing laws, it became apparent that some gambling groups were getting around existing restrictions on live betting online by simulating a phone call – known as “click to call” by live betting services – which was a permitted exception under existing laws.

Alan Tudge, the human services minister, said: “Currently hundreds of illegal gambling services are easily accessible on the internet and we know that people are more likely to get into trouble online – 2.7% of interactive gamblers are problem gamblers compared to 0.9% of all gamblers.

“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 new bill will set out a series of illegal gambling services and others that are permitted to operate if they meet certain exceptions.

It will also give the Australian Communications and Media Authority (Acma) power to issue warnings, infringement notices, civil penalties and injunctions.

Acma will also be given the power to disclose details about prohibited gambling services to international regulators.

At this stage it is unclear whether Labor or crossbench senators will support the bill to allow it to pass the Senate.


Paul Farrell

The GuardianTramp

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