Australia has taken a bold step to tackle online gambling.
The Federal Government says it is banning the gambling industry from online gaming and imposing new fines for offenders.
The move was announced by the Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, in a speech to the Senate on Thursday.
“The Australian people want to see a more fair and open competition, a market where consumers are treated equally,” he said.
“We are banning gambling and we are banning the online gambling industry altogether.”
Gambling will be illegal on all public transport, businesses and entertainment venues, the government said.
It also bans any activity that is “entirely based on the use of gambling”.
“The Commonwealth has made it clear that the online gaming industry will be regulated as it is today,” Mr Abbott said.’
We’re not going to be playing by the same rules’The move comes after the Federal Government made its first moves against online gambling in March.
Gambling is legal in some states, but not others.
It’s not clear whether online gambling will be a part of that, or whether it will remain a legal activity.
Mr Abbott says it will be “regulating the industry like it is now”.
“This is not going be a grey area,” he told the Senate.
“It will be regulating the industry as it has been regulated for decades.”‘
We’ve got to make sure we get a level playing field’The Government says that is what it wants to achieve, but many argue that online gambling is not just about fairness.
“I’m not sure it’s fair,” Senator Brandis said.”[Online gambling] is not about fairness, it’s about a degree of advantage that goes to the person that is doing the gambling,” Senator Scott Ludlam said.
Online gambling is illegal in all states, so there is no question of its legality in Tasmania.
Online casinos are regulated in the state, with a minimum number of players required.
In Queensland, where online gambling has been legal since 2014, a person who wins $1,000 can bet $50 and receive $1 for each $1 of winnings.
The Government has made similar changes to New South Wales.
But it has yet to make a decision on whether to make the changes in Victoria, where gambling is already illegal.