Australia Commission: Legalize Online Gambling

Published October 26, 2009 by OCR Editor

Australia Commission: Legalize Online Gambling

Report calls for overturning of 2001 law, which made it illegal for companies to offer online gambling in Australia.

Australia could be on the way to fully legalizing online gambling after the release of a draft report on Friday by the federal government's independent advisory board for microeconomic reform.

The report, produced by the Australian Productivity Commission, supports the managed reform of online gambling in the country. Although it is just a recommendation, the commission's reports traditionally have a big influence on the federal government.

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The draft report is more than 600 pages long, and took into account submissions by 264 organizations, but the recommendation on online gambling reform can be summarized by the statement: "The Australian Government should repeal the Interactive Gambling Act, and in consultation with state and territory governments, should initiate a process for the managed liberalization of online gaming."

The Interactive Gambling Act, which was passed by the federal government in 2001, made it illegal for companies to offer online gambling in Australia, although it did not ban Australian citizens from playing on those sites, meaning that many Australians still play at online poker and gambling sites without being prosecuted.

As expected, the report sparked plenty of opposition from prominent anti-gambling activists, including Senator for South Australia Nick Xenophon and Reverend Tim Costello.

After criticizing the report's recommendations, the two both called for the introduction of a system similar to that used in Norway in which a person's gambling losses are capped at $485 a month.

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