Online bingo not legalised in Australia

June 26, 2010 - by Tom · Filed Under London Bingo News Leave a Comment 

Despite speculation that a change was in the air, and recommendations from a policy advisory board, legislators in Australia have decided not to legalise online bingo.

The panel had recommended that online bingo, as well as casino and poker games should be legal for Australians to play, but this advice was ignored by the Communications Minister, who believed that any potential benefits of allowing online gambling would be outweighed by the likely rise in problem gambling. This will surely effect the people who play bingo online.

Australia has one of the highest rates of problem gambling in the world, but experts believe this is related to the mixing of gambling and alcohol in Australian bars and the high number of slot machines, otherwise known as ‘pokies’. It is estimated that there are 160,000 problem gamblers in Australia.

Online gambling on bingo, casino and poker was banned by the 2001 Interactive Gambling Act, but as many Australians didn’t know that sites were illegal they continued to play on unlicensed sites.

The Communications Minister, Stephen Conroy, and the Families Minister, Jenny Macklin, both gave interviews where they said that the government had decided to ignore the advice of the Gambling Policy Board, an independent body who suggested that the tax and player protection benefits which could be gained from allowing online gambling would be beneficial.

Conroy said that the government would do their best to crack down on online operators who target Australians from overseas, and would talk to American legislators about how they passed the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act, and how they tried to enforce what is widely seen as a badly drafted piece of legislation.

Recently there has been speculation that a few British companies were planning to acquire Australian gambling licences in advance of the hoped for change in legislation. William Hill were.

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