By Clyde Mooney – editor Australian Hotelier

As more and more countries legislate around the issue of online gaming, Australians are increasingly sending their gambling dollars overseas while Government sits on the quiet side of the virtual fence.

The borderless nature of the internet means that while it is prohibited for Australian-based interactive gaming services to operate from this country, people online here are free to access these sites based in other countries.

TheShout spoke with the Gaming Technologies Association (GTA) about the divergence between harm-minimising regulation and reality in internet gambling.

“Australia had the chance to set up a harm-free, licensed and properly regulated online casino gaming industry when Queensland passed the Interactive Gambling (Player Protection) Act 1998,” explains GTA CEO Ross Ferrar.

“Licences were issued, probity and security checks were made, processes and procedures were established, staff were recruited and operations had begun.

“Then the Federal Government passed the Interactive Gambling Act in June 2001, which made it an offence to provide an interactive gambling service to customers in Australia or to provide an Australian-based interactive gambling service to customers in designated countries.

“However, accessing and using the interactive gambling services is not an offence, and increasingly, Australians are doing just that with overseas-based operations – thereby seeing jobs and Government revenue go out of Australia.” 

Well-established online bookmakers such as Bet365 and Unibet offer incentives such as easy money transfers and content translation and more interactive services than ever previously available.

Mirroring the on- versus off-premise debate around alcohol sales, the growing gaming sites impact directly on the local gaming products – both in venues and on legal Australian betting sites.

“As technology becomes more capable and the world becomes more connected, geographical boundaries are more meaningless and the online casino gaming industry started beck in the 1990s is now a reality,” furthers Ferrar. 

“It could have been a world-leading example of Australian ingenuity, but those Australians involved in providing online casino gaming now must live elsewhere.  

“It could have been beneficial to Australia’s economy, but it’s not.

The Shout Team

The leading online news service for Australia's beer, wine, spirits and hospitality industries.

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