Australian Government Continues Crackdown on Internet Betting

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Efforts by the Australian government to crackdown on online betting continue as reforms have now been agreed upon that will work to fight problem gambling on sports betting platforms. The new prohibition in the country follows legislation banning offshore online poker sites earlier this year.

According to multiple news reports, federal, state and territory ministers have agreed upon a number of ways to combat problem gambling in the country. Online betting companies will be blocked from offering credit to gamblers in Australia, in one area of reforms. Operators will also be required to offer programs for self-exclusion in efforts to fight problem gambling in the country. In total, the reform agreement includes 11 new measures in regards to the gambling industry.

The self-exclusion programs will allow players to exclude themselves from a gambling site and this will then block them from accessing other online bookmakers in the process. Gamblers will essentially be able to set their own betting limits which government officials feel will help combat the gambling problems of the nation.

The new initiative is titled the National Consumer Protection Framework and comes around the same time that legislators have been working on other online gambling legislation changes that includes poker operations. The government introduced the Interactive Gambling Amendment Bill in 2016 that would change the way the country handles international operators. Because of this measure, several operators have already removed services from Australia, including 888 and Vera&John. PokerStars is expected to follow suit. The bill was passed by the Australian Senate in March and will effectively shut down online poker gaming for real money in the country.

As far as the sports betting changes are concerned, Human Services Minister Alan Tudge stated that the ‘practical, measured initiatives’, could be put in place by the end of 2017 to tackle the ‘scourge of problem gambling’ which according to the Minister is more prevalent online.

The changes to the sports betting industry were welcomed by the Responsible Wagering Australia group, a representation of online bookmakers. Executive Director Stephen Conroy, stated that the group welcomes the announcements by Trudge and are broadly supportive and look forward to working with the minister on implementing the measures.



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