Sources indicate that new Aussie legislation will have some tough measures targeting unlicensed operators and excessive advertising
Australian media reports over the weekend indicate that an enforcement clampdown in Australia is likely to follow the imminent publication of tough new federal laws.
Sources have revealed to the press that the new laws will include action against unlicensed offshore betting companies accessing Aussie punters, along with disruption to financial transactions.
Licensed companies will now face a legislated end to in-play betting, removing this form of betting from the "grey" legal area which has in the past enabled operators to offer it.
And company directors of illegal gambling websites will be targeted through movement alert lists, which will mean they run the risk of being apprehended at Australian border entry points if they travel to or from the country.
The Daily Telegraph reported that the federal government is also considering the practicality of asking internet service providers to block illegal websites, or financial institution payment blocking, and in negotiation with the provincial governments will also establish a self-exclusion register for online gambling, a ban on lines of credit and a voluntary precommitment scheme to limit bets.
Alan Tudge, the federal government's Human Services Minister, told the newspaper that while most Australians enjoyed a punt, they were "sick of having it rammed down their throat''.
"Australians are the biggest gamblers in the world. It's been part of our culture for a long time,'' Tudge said. "But the problem with online gambling is you can literally bet your house away without leaving your living room."
The Telegraph notes that Australians lose A$1.4 billion a year to online gambling, a quarter of which goes overseas.
Tudge commented on the forthcoming in-play betting ban, saying:
"I think we have enough sporting integrity issues and problem gambling already without needing to bet on every single moment of every game 24-7.
"Thousands of Australians love a punt and we don't want to interfere with that. But we are worried about the integrity of the game and about problem gambling."
Independent Senator and anti-gambling activist Nick Xenophon has been calling for a prohibition on lines of credit for years, and last year introducing legislation which would have also included a national self-exclusion register.
"More and more people, particularly young men, are struggling with online gambling and this is an opportunity to tackle it head on,'' he said.
In related news 9News.com reports that the Victorian provincial government is about to introduce legislation that will ban sports betting advertising on public transport and near schools.
The reforms would see wagering advertisements banned in and near areas frequented by children, locations that are unavoidable in the public's day to day activities and where the position of the advertisement undermines the promotion of responsible gambling.
Gaming and Liquor Regulation Minister Marlene Kairouz revealed that wagering-related problem gambling costs Victorians between A$1.5 and A$2.8 billion a year and advertising can shape attitudes and behaviour.
"The government is leading the nation, targeting insidious wagering ads which encourage Victorians most at risk to gamble," she said on Sunday, adding that the areas under review were the first step of reform and did not rule out further bans in the future.
Sporting venues are not included in the current reform proposal, nor are television or radio advertisements – which are regulated by the federal government.
The minister called for public submissions in relation to the proposed reforms.
Opposition Leader Matthew Guy immediately challenged the government, accusing it of hypocrisy and accusing it of cutting funding to problem gambling programs.
"You can ban as many things as you like, but if the same government is cutting those programs to deal with problem gambling you are banning one thing on one hand and aiding it with another," Guy told reporters.
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