AUSTRALIAN SENATE PASSES CONTROVERSIAL INTERACTIVE GAMBLING AMENDMENT BILL
21st March, 2017 at 11:24:11
Legislation closes loopholes in old Act, effectively outlawing online poker and in-play betting.
The Australian federal Senate acted Tuesday to close loopholes in 2001 online gambling prohibition laws by passing the much debated Interactive Gambling Amendment Bill 2016, reports the Huffington Post.
The amendment bill, which closes online poker and in-play betting loopholes in the original act, follows extensive government reviews in the past that recommended the legalisation and taxing of online gambling, although the government elected instead to follow the recommendations of the 2015 O'Farrell review, which recommended tightening up federal laws against gambling online.
Liberal Democrats senator David Leyonhjelm, who fought against the amendments, described the move as "stupid", commenting that live poker action is widely available throughout Australia, and online bans can be easily circumvented using modern technology..
"The original 2001 law was meant to stop online gambling of many kinds, but it didn't, there was a loophole," Leyonhjelm explained. "There is quite an active online poker community in Australia. I don't think it [the amended legislation] will succeed for those really determined. If you have a [virtual private network] or offshore account, you will still play. It's a stupid situation to be in."
The amendment also effectively ends the debate over interpretation of in-play betting regulations, which has seen major foreign companies competing in Australia exploiting loopholes to offer this very popular form of wagering (see previous reports).
It is unlikely that the amendment will discourage the many Australians who use offshore operators to gamble over the internet, says Leyonhjelm:
"It will promote the black market. There are ways to circumvent these prohibition approaches. People will gamble using foreign providers by various means. They will be in the hands of sometimes shady providers, and if they get ripped off, they will have no recourse," he said.
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