Gambling Reform Down Under

12/16/2011
By Pamela PattersonGoogle

Issues of gambling reform in general and online gambling reform in particular, have been circulating through the Australian parliament for a while.  In order to sort out the issues, a special parliamentary committee has been appointed to create a unified policy to be voted on in Parliament.  One of the recent issues brought before the committee was the suggestion of Senator Nick Xenophon to enact a law similar to America’s Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act that aims to prevent illegal internet gambling by targeting the financial institutions that perform the monetary transactions on behalf of the players and websites. 

 

Senator Xenophon’s submission has been met by stiff opposition from all the institutions involved.  The Australian Banker’s Association came out with strong opposition.  Their CEO, Steven Munchenberg, said to members of the special parliamentary committee that if Xenophon’s suggestion becomes law, not only will it not succeed in stopping clandestine internet gambling operations, but it will also hurt the competitive abilities of other Australian online consumer industries that have nothing to do with online gambling.  A representative from Visa, Australia’s largest credit service provider, expressed similar sentiments in an interview with the Sydney Morning Herald.  Andrew Wilkie who is heading the special parliamentary committee on gambling reform told the press that his committee will have a report ready for the government by the end of the month.

 

Earlier this month, parliament members from the opposition created their own policy document detailing what they think needs to be reformed.  They suggested that credit card deposits to online gambling sites be altogether banned, that self exclusion at pokie venues be extended, and that programs for treating problem gamblers receive increased funding.  The government is expected to finalize its decisions on the matters towards the beginning of 2012.

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