Australia cracks down on online gambling operations

By Caroline Watson
Australia’s federal government has implemented new legislation that will require online gaming operators active in the country to acquire local licences or they will face hefty fines.

Earlier this year, Human Services Minister, Alan Tudge proposed to introduce legislation amending the Interactive Gambling Act 2001. Following a review of the existing laws, it was clear that a number of gambling groups were using loopholes to get around the restrictions on live betting online by simulating a phone call – also known as “click to call”, which was a legitimate exception under the existing laws.

The Act will amend the currently “ambiguous” law to make it explicitly clear that any operator accepting bets from Australian consumers without a local license is breaking the law.

The Australian Communications and Media Authority will impose civil penalties up to AUD$1.35m per day for individuals and up to AUD$6.75m for companies.

As part of the government’s three-pronged approach to overhauling Australia’s online gambling market, Tudge began by filing the Interactive Gambling Amendment Bill 2016.

The revamp includes banning these in-play apps, cracking down on internationally licensed online operators and establishing a National Consumer Protection Framework. As well as this, Tudge aims to create a black-list of operators that consumers should avoid..

Alan Tudge comments: “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. 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.”
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