Latest Gaming News Down Under
The Australian government is in two minds at the moment with regard to the legalization of internet gambling in the country.
A special parliamentary committee will discuss and formulate a policy on gambling reforms. The committee also discussed the measure proposed by independent Senator Nick Xenophon. It aims to restrict players from using financial transactions as a means to transfer cash to internet casinos. Basically it’s based on the UIGEA of the United States of America.
The Australian Bankers’ Association strongly opposed this recommendation and said that trying to use the national payment system as a means to clamp down on internet gambling is a three legged horse. Industry members and experts quickly joined in as well. Steve Munchenberg, the chief executive of the Australian Bankers’ Association, notified the committee that it is a complicated process to restrict financial transactions.
A measure of this nature will impact negatively on different internet services and damage the competitiveness of Australian businesses and make it difficult for Australian customers to purchase goods online. A measure of this nature will make it difficult to receive payments against Australian credit cards and online merchants might just refuse to accept business and payments from Australian customers. Visa a credit card services provider also agreed with the above concerns in a recent interview with the Sydney Morning Herald. Independent Member of Parliament, Andrew Wilkie who heads the gambling reforms committee, is set to release a report based on his findings on internet gambling to the federal government at the end of November.
The opposition coalition released a discussion paper on gambling reform earlier this month. In its paper it proposed to council problem gamblers, extend self-exclusion at pokie venues and ban deposits at internet casinos that make use of credit cards. The other suggestion that was put forward is the exclusion of problem gamblers at the request of third parties such as families. Senior Members of Parliament requested a feedback report to government early in 2012.
During the hearings the committee soon realized that 92% of Australians can easy gain access sites on the Internet. Even if the Interactive Gambling Act bans local sites from accepting funds from Australian punters. The latest research indicates that Australians punters wagered in excess of $968 million in 2010 at foreign based internet casinos, poker and bingo sites. Professor Alex Blaszczynski, the government’s advisor on gambling said that Australians who wager at these offshore Internet sites are not protected should they lose their cash because of dishonest operators.
The Australian gambling industry employs 150,000 people, it is imperative that one takes this into consideration when new legislation is imposed. The Australian government must find an alternative way to balance the legitimate right of Australians to wager responsibly with the necessary protection and to support problem gamblers.[addtoany]