No liberalisation of online gambling: Canberra

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No liberalisation of online gambling: Canberra

The Federal government says it does not agree with a key recommendation from the productivity commission which called for a liberalisation of online gambling.

There are fears amongst Australia's lucrative gambling players that a liberalisation to include cut price gaming sites would harm established companies.

Pokies targeted

And in a further move sure to anger operators, Community Services Minister Jenny Macklin also said the government would also look at 'pre commitment' technology to tackle problem gambling at slot machines, or 'pokies'.

The original report suggested that the maximum bet on a gaming machine would be cut to $1 and that a maximum $20 input could be implemented by using new technology.

Macklin said there may be no need for other regulatory measures - there was however 'important work to be done to develop pre-commitment.'

"The community wants us to address this issue (of problem gambling)", she said.

States hold power

Despite the federal government's announcement, it is the states and territories who have primary control of gambling law.

Macklin said Prime Minister Kevin Rudd would try to establish a select committee to act on recommendations amongst ASIC councils.

"We will discuss these issues with states and territories...there are various rules about caps on machines, so we have to discuss that with them."

Communications Minister Stephen Conroy said Australia would examine the possibility of a more effective regime examining the impact of gambling over the internet and mobile phones.

The commission estimated there were between 80,000 and 160,000 Australian adults suffering severe problems from their gambling.

There are between 230,000 and 350,000 people at moderate risk, experiencing lower levels of harm, and who may progress to problem gambling.
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