government issued its response today to the recent review into illegal offshore
wagering, setting out a number of measures that will be introduced to combat
problem gambling and unlicensed operators.
The government has
accepted 18 of the 19 recommendations contained in the O'Farrell
review, which found that as much as AUD$400m is gambled with illegal
offshore operators, resulting in lost revenue, weaker consumer protection and
heightened sports integrity concerns.
The biggest blow to
licensed operators will be the decision to close a loophole under which they
have offered in-play betting to customers via click-to-call.
The government said
that it does not intend to expand the in-play betting market in Australia by
legalising the activity and would instead introduce legislation as soon as possible
to close the click-to-call loophole, which it described as “breaching the
provisions and intent of the interactive gambling act”.
It will also introduce
a national self-exclusion register to enable players to opt out of all
interactive gambling, as well as a voluntary pre-commitment scheme and a
requirement for operators to keep players informed about their gambling spend.
Offering lines of
credit for online gambling will also be banned.
In order to combat
illegal operators, the government says it will seek to disrupt travel to
Australia by directors or principles of illegal gambling providers, while the
Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) will be empowered with new
civil penalties, including against agents and affiliates of unlicensed
It will also seek to
introduce voluntary ISP and payment blocking against illegal sites.
Senator Alan Tudge,
Minister for Human Services, commented: “Many Australians love to gamble, but
we want to make sure there are sensible protections in place. The online
environment has the potential for people to get themselves into serious
"We expect online
wagering providers to meet community expectations,” he said. “The tougher laws
will seriously disrupt the illegal offshore providers from acting
unscrupulously or targeting vulnerable Australians."
Senator Mitch Fifield,
Minister for Communications, added: “The new powers will allow the ACMA to
implement civil penalties for breaches of the IGA provisions and we will also
create name and shame lists to be published online which will make it clearer
to consumers the operators who are providing illegal services.”