Analysis: Net gambling next on ISP filter hitlist?

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Analysis: Net gambling next on ISP filter hitlist?

Stakeholders brand online gambling laws ineffective.

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The Communications Law Centre (CLC) has called for a tightening of Australian laws to more effectively prohibit access to online casino-style games like poker, blackjack and roulette.

In a submission to the parliamentary inquiry on the prevalence of interactive and online gambling, the CLC said technology was enabling underaged and problem gamblers to place bets.

Australia's current Interactive Gambling Act 2001 (IGA) regulated online wagering services, where customers bet on events like horse racing and sports.

The Act prohibited online casino-style gambling, including table games and poker machines, as well as banning overseas companies from providing gaming services to Australians.

But it was "largely ineffective" in prohibiting international gambling sites, the CLC found, as it provided "no meaningful way of enforcement".

"The prohibition of online Australian interactive gambling forces Australians to use offshore sites, many of which have poor harm minimisation features and unscrupulous business practices," it wrote.

"CLC considers that the prohibition of international gambling sites has been largely ineffective as the rate of Australian access to such sites continues to increase over time."

Despite Australian laws, sites like Kahnawake, Canada-based All Slots Online Casino and Gibraltarian 888 and Casino.com openly invited Australians to participate in their casino-style games.

Casino.com's Australian page.
Casino.com's Australian page.
888 described itself as "one of the biggest online poker rooms in the world... [and] also the place Australian poker players come to play online.

"Play the Aussie favourite Texas Holdem and receive a generous Welcome Bonus of up to $400! Be part of the Australian poker community and join the action with thousands of players from all over Australia."

All Slots' Australian page invited online money transfers using the Neteller service, which it said was "available in all European countries as well as Australia and Japan".

In its terms and conditions, however, All Slots stated: "You are solely responsible for ascertaining whether it is legal in your jurisdiction to play any of the games in the Casinos

"We do not intend to enable you to contravene applicable law, and we are not responsible for any illegal or unauthorised use of the Casinos by you."

The CLC argued that casino-style websites posed "a significant risk to the financial and mental state of problem gamblers and ... of social harm".

It recommended that the Government deny Australians access to overseas gambling sites by blocking these sites in Australian jurisdictions, or prohibiting the transfer of funds to such sites.

Read on to Page 2 for more submissions and recommendations.

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