Australia may ban online betting
Lawmakers worldwide continue to struggle with the idea of regulated online gambling. More and more are realizing its revenue potential, while a handful remain bitterly against gambling in all its forms.
At a time when even U.S. Senator Jon Kyl may be considering softening his anti-gambling stance, count Australian senator Nick Xenophon as among those who continue to work against improved gambling regulations. Xenophon is drafting a new bill that would strictly regulate the country’s online betting market.
Currently, although Australia has an enormous government-sanctioned land-based sport betting network, Internet betting is conducted primarily through non-Australian companies like Sportingbet.
That company plays by the rules, but, like the U.S. market, many other operators are doing business in a legal gray area, untaxed and unreported. Those companies, and the media’s discussion of sports betting odds, are ruining professional sports, the senator claims.
”We need to ban commentators referring to the odds, we need to restrict odds being broadcast, we need to have restrictions on the maximum bets being able to be played,” Senator Xenophon told an Australia newspaper, per the Sydney Morning Herald.
”There needs to be a complete overhaul of the Interactive Gambling Act. While the act is only 10 years old, there has been technological advances and exponential growth,” Xenophon continued.
How would this plan, if successful, affect the Aussie online gambling market?
Under Xenophon’s proposed new rules, the differences would be huge. For starters, the new law would essentially outlaw losing bets — meaning that if a player lost money on an online bet, he or she could simply get that money refunded back.
“With voided credit card bets, I have to say there’s something appealing to me about online casinos losing their shirts rather than the punters,” Senator Xenophon said in a separate interview. ”It would certainly make online casinos think twice about accepting Australian cards.”
Needless to say, that would dramatically upset the sports betting market in Australia, essentially making it impossible for companies to operate there.
And that’s probably Xenophon’s plan: The new law would essentially ban online betting, and, it’s hoped by its supporters, online gambling in general. After all, it was Senator Xenophon who was the driving force behind Australia’s planned Internet censorship plan from a few years ago, which has yet to be implemented.
“The legislation would also ban the advertising of online gambling websites during sports broadcasts and tackle online casinos,” the Morning Herald article adds.
To top it off, Australia is currently in the middle of a political revolution caused by gambling machines, or “pokies”, which are widely available in the nation’s bars, clubs, and public spaces, but which many politicians want to make illegal.
That’s likely to give Xenophon’s plan a bit of a boost, though it’s unlikely that a bill this dramatic would succeed without some serious reworking. Aussie affiliate marketers may want to start considering political action of their own, like contacting their local reps or writing emails to the media.