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Australia Moves to Ban Online Poker and Sports Betting

Australia Moves to Ban Online Poker and Sports Betting

Legislation that was passed in Australia this Tuesday criminalizes both online poker and in-play sports betting.

The Interactive Gambling Amendment Bill 2016 was a result of the Review of Illegal Offshore Wagering in 2015 which sought to make federal online gambling laws more stringent. An earlier regulation, the 2001 Interactive Gambling Act had made an attempt at criminalizing online gambling but left out certain “loopholes”.

Liberal Democrats senator David Leyonhjelm expressed disapproval with the anti-online gambling measures, labeling them as “unnecessary and ineffective”.

The new law also tackles loopholes around sports betting which has been blamed for match-fixing. According to Leyonhjelm, though, the effect of the measure would be quite the contrary.

He used an example from the UK practice whereby licensed sports betting operators are subject to government taxation, which brings in handsome revenue for the country. In addition, the senator mentioned those providers were able to audit the betting and thus ensure fairness. Finally, he stated that the ban on sports betting would possibly encourage players to seek less trustworthy and reputable foreign betting operators, thus promoting the expansion of the black market.