A new bill introduced in the Australian Parliament this week is aimed at closing a legal loophole that allowed offshore gambling sites to operate without local licensing.

If passed into law, the Interactive Gambling Amendment bill 2016 would mean the end of click-to-call in-play wagering for Aussie punters.

The legislation was introduced by communications minister, Mitch Fifield and is part of a larger government effort to crack down on unlicensed online operators, as well as addressing the issues surrounding problem gambling. More specifically, the bill would impose fines of up to $1 million (USD) per day on operators that serve Aussie gamblers without the proper licensing.

Just to drive the point home a little more, the bill also includes measures for insuring that the executives from companies that do violate the law are unable to leave the country.

More importantly, especially for operators with US-facing sites, the bill provides measures for sharing the names of violators with other regulatory bodies.

Fifield’s bill was inspired by the rapid rise of a practice known as click-to-call which served as a workaround to Australian laws requiring the use of a phone to place in-play wagers.

Though the practice has been used by all sorts of operators, it’s been especially popular with the legion of offshore operations that serve the Australian market. That didn’t sit well with government officials like human services minister, Alan Tudge who told the Guardian newspaper:

We expect online wagering providers to meet community expectations. The tougher laws will seriously disrupt illegal offshore providers from acting unscrupulously or targeting vulnerable Australians.

The government is committed to taking tougher action against illegal offshore wagering providers and this bill does exactly that.

Tudge’s bill is up for discussion at the end of the month.


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