Australia to Overhaul Offshore Online Gambling Operations
The Australian government announced on Monday that a review of the country’s Interactive Gambling Act will be carried out. Officials will be looking for ways to meet the increasing demand for innovative methods for live sports betting.
The introduction of regulations for the illegal offshore gambling operators that provide their services in Australia will also be among the things that will be paid more special attention.
Scott Morrison, Minister for Social Services, told local media that the government would like to update the current online gambling regulations in order for those to comply with the newly introduced technology options. However, the official pointed out that no changes that would in any way “compromise [their] national sports and racing industry” will be implemented.
It was also announced that Barry O’Farrell, former Premier of New South Wales, will be in charge of the pending review. He will be expected to submit recommendations to Mr. Morrison and Malcolm Turnbull, Minister for Communications, before December 18.
Commenting on the Interactive Gambling Act, which took effect in 2001, Mr. Morrison said that it apparently needs to be overhauled. However, he pointed out that this would be done carefully and in a proper manner.
The Social Services Minister further explained that in-play betting could potentially compromise Australia’s sports and racing industry and the risk should not be underestimated. In addition, officials are determined to consider certain technological issues as a means to address problem gambling.
According to a report compiled by the Australian Institute of Family Studies, people who place their bets online are more likely to show symptoms of gambling addiction than those who opt for the old-school gambling methods.
Under the current regulations, Australian gambling customers are permitted to bet on the final results of a given sports event only after its beginning and via their phones or in person. Yet, offshore companies like William Hill have long been arguing that as long as people keep the microphones of their smartphones on, it still could be said that they have placed their bets by phone.
Ladbrokes, yet another British gambling operator, had previously offered similar in-play service. However, the company stopped its provision after complaints were filed to Australian regulators.
Mr. Morrison also explained earlier today that the review will look into the scope and the impacts illegal offshore betting has on the Australian gambling industry and its customers. In addition, officials intend to study regulatory regimes in other countries in order to prepare a framework for Australia.
New regulatory and technological options will also be considered. Those will be expected to mitigate the negative effects from illegal betting. The protection of gambling customers will also be among the topics that will be paid more special attention.
It was noted in the terms of reference issued on Monday that gambling operators have long been trying to evade certain regulatory obligations by placing their operations in unregulated overseas locations, mainly in the Asia-Pacific region. However, officials believe that by doing so and escaping fees, they have been threatening the “integrity of racing and sports in Australia.”