Australian authorities seek stricter regulation in online gambling

Big changes lie ahead for our friends in the land Down Under as federal ministers have announced far-reaching changes in online gambling services. These are aimed at closing lacunae in the current legislation which can be considered a conflict of interest for operators.

Changes across the board

The proposed changes will apply across the country, regardless of territory or state. The Australian government’s latest proposal is aimed at protecting players from unscrupulous operators who might attempt to take advantage of them.

Currently, gambling operators can offer players not just betting services but also lines of credit. This can be problematic and could lead to irresponsible or problem gambling habits. In the interest of being responsible gaming operators, online casinos will no longer be offering credit to their players. In all Australian territories, except the Northern Territory, corporate bookmakers are not allowed to offer their services.

Keeping players safe

Another part of the upcoming legislation includes the introduction of self-exclusion options in all forms of online gambling. An operator offering gambling services will be obliged to offer a self-exclusion option across every platform the services are available. Players signing up to play at online gambling sites will need to determine, at that point, how much they are willing to spend over a specified period of time.

Opponents unconvinced by clampdown

Those opposed to the updated legislation outline several issues with it. They argue that the proposals would be ineffective against problem gambling. The suggestion that gambling advertisements should be banned during live sporting events was also shot down – the nature of the relationship between such events and gambling is difficult to untangle and makes it hard for such measures to work as intended.

On the subject of preventing operators from offering credit to players, the argument was that other credit suppliers would simply step in to take the place of gambling companies. Many gambling sites in Australia are registered in the Northern Territory, an area well known for its more liberal approach towards online gambling. The minister for this territory was conspicuous in his absence  at recent meetings about the legislation, though a representative was supportive of the measures.

So far, no concrete action has been taken regarding the degree of autonomy granted to different states on this matter, or whether the Commonwealth government will issue a nation-wide ban on gambling sites offering credit.