Online gambling companies offering services in Australia will now have to acquire local licences or will face heavy fines.
The new Interactive Gambling Amendment Bill 2016 is a result of almost a year-long work on online gambling in Australia. Earlier this year Alan Tudge, Human Services Minister, proposed to amend the Interactive Gambling Act 2001. Loopholes in the law were used to get around with the restrictions on online betting, enabling gambling operators in the country to simulate a phone call also known as “click to call”.
The new bill will amend any vague and ambiguous parts in the law making it perfectly clear that any gambling firm accepting a bet from an Australian customer without a local licence is working illegally. Further, Australian Communications and Media Authority will be allowed to impose civil penalties without having to involve the Australian Federal Police.
Individuals breaking the law will face fines up to AUD 1.35 million per day, companies will be charged AUD 6.75 million.
The effort to revamp Australian market consists of many measures taken by the government, including banning in-play betting apps, cracking down on internationally licensed operators, establishing of a National Consumer Protection Framework and creating a black-list of operators that consumers should avoid.
Alan Tudge comments in The Guardian newspaper: “Currently hundreds of illegal gambling services are easily accessible on the internet and we know that people are more likely to get into trouble online – 2.7% of interactive gamblers are problem gamblers compared to 0.9% of all gamblers.”
“We expect online wagering providers to meet community expectations; the tougher laws will seriously disrupt illegal offshore providers from acting unscrupulously or targeting vulnerable Australians.
“The government is committed to taking tougher action against illegal offshore wagering providers and this bill does exactly that.”