Australia Takes Control Of Online Gambling

Elouise Spencer - 25 November 2019

Australia has been struggling with their online gambling industry for a while now, and has seemingly been unable to take control of operators. The government has recently set in motion new laws that will give the country’s communications watchdog, the Australian Communications and Media Authority, more control over this specific industry.

In 2015, Australia set in motion a thorough review of the gambling industry across the country. The facts and figures showed that Australians were spending about $280 million every year on online gambling, but using foreign operators. This meant that the country was losing out on about $69 million in tax revenue. However, this review was not just about tax, it was also about how the country could take control of the industry and regulate it.

The Power To Investigate

As a result of the review on the industry, certain changes were proposed and one of them was to give the Australian Communications and Media Authority the power to investigate these foreign online casino operators. These changes were based on a proposal put together by Barry O’Farrell, the former Premier of New South Wales. O’Farrell led the team that conducted the review. The proposal for reform had 19 elements where the country could improve.

The most important area of control that is going to be implemented is the ability to investigate. From there, the communications watchdog can instruct local internet service providers to block those specific operations and their online domains. This will keep players safe from unscrupulous operators that aren’t regulated.

Illegal Sites Defraud Players

By giving the Australian Communications and Media Authority the ability to investigate suspect offshore online casino operations, they are also giving players a lot more safety and security. Players using these foreign casinos and sports betting operations were also often struggling to claim their winnings or their deposits, and they had no recourse, as the operator was not licenced to operate in Australia.

On top of the concerns about money, the watchdog and the outcomes of the review are concerned about player safety. Unregulated operations don’t have to offer any social responsibility elements such as self-exclusion lists or betting maximums. With the ability to block these sites from players, the communications watchdog is happy that they can keep at-risk players safe.

The Australian Communications and Media Authority started implementing changes to the way they police the industry back in 2017. This was all based on the results of the 2015 review. In this time, they have already seen a marked difference in the industry.