Australia Gambling

By Carlo Abela

Gambling, in its many different forms, is very popular in Australia, and its relevant laws are somewhat liberal. The country has several licensed land based casinos, and poker is legal too. Slot machines and video poker are available in pubs and clubs. For those who enjoy sports betting, nearly 3,000 such outlets exist in Australia. For those who prefer to gamble away at a somewhat reduced speed, these can enjoy a game of bingo. To summarize, Australia offers plenty of opportunities to gamble legally.

Online gambling is legal too, but there are government imposed restrictions. These came into operation with the passing of the Interactive Gambling Act of 2001. These laws are mainly aimed at the operators rather than at the individuals doing the actual gambling. It is illegal for operators to advertise, or provide real money online gaming services. They can, however, offer their services to customers in other parts of the world. The aim of this gambling act is to protect Australian residents from themselves. In other words, to make them become aware of the potentially harmful effects online gambling can have.

Online gaming is regulated under the federal and state/territory law.

Clubs Australia has teamed up with the American Gaming Association, AGA, in a bid to stop illegal online gambling. The main aim of these combined forces is to respond to the number of illegal online gambling web locations, and which pose money laundering threats, as well as possible terrorist financing activities. Together, they plan coordinated efforts to inform governments of illegal operations, forcing them to close their doors. They also will inform their governments to step up their efforts in order to hit offending firms.

AUSTRAC, Australia's financial intelligence agency, recently recorded a 300 per cent increase in the number of transactions which could be related to terrorist financing.

The Executive Director of Clubs Australia, Mr. Anthony Ball, commented that an international model to address the problem is required. Mr. Ball compared the present Internet and online gambling activities, both on tablets and phones, as being unregulated. Furthermore, he said that companies operating in tax havens, all over the world, provide these illegal services to Australians.

Clubs Australia, made up of territory and state associations, represents the interests of nearly 7,000 licensed clubs across Australia, and New Zealand. These interests include taxation, tourism, skills and training, industrial relations, as well as gambling reform.

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