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Legal & Regulatory

RWA: Unlicensed offshore websites pose “major threat to responsible gambling in Australia”

Responsible Wagering Australia (RWA) has warned that an increase in online gambling poses a “major threat to responsible gambling in Australia” if fuelled by unlicensed overseas websites.

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With various reports of a rise in gambling spending in Australia during the pandemic, the online gambling operator association believes they don’t paint the full picture.

Instead, RWA is concerned that much of the online gambling growth has been taken up by unlicensed offshore betting websites, and “many people are walking around with an unlicensed casino in their pocket.”

RWA CEO Brent Jackson, said: “Historical consumer credit data is being used to create alarmist reports that gambling has surged during the COVID crisis.

“Without context people assume that increases in online gambling during COVID automatically mean an increase in overall gambling activity. This isn’t the industry experience, and credible data sources aren’t suggesting that either.

“Online casinos and pokies operate illegally in Australia despite hundreds of overseas websites being accessible with the click of a button.

“While it’s against the law for businesses to provide these betting games to the Australian market, it isn’t actually illegal for Australians to access them, and this puts consumers (including children and vulnerable people) at major risk.”

Last month at ICE Asia Digital, Office of Liquor and Gaming Regulation (OLGR) Queensland executive director, Michael Sarquis, said online gambling in Australia grew by 140% during the coronavirus pandemic.

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