While the potential changes to the IGA have been widely reported on, and many have discussed them as though they are a certainty to go into effect, it’s important to remember that these are just that: potential changes. Since these proposals have only been suggested in a report and haven’t even reached the stage of being debated on – let alone voted on – in Parliament, there is still quite a ways to go before any such legislation would be put into place.
That said, there are some good signs for the future of the bill. There is plenty of support for the proposals, ranging from the gaming industry in Australia to a wide cross-section of political figures. Even some of the more pragmatic opponents of gambling have supported similar proposals in the past, due in large part to the fact that Australian-licensed online poker and gambling sites would be easier to hold accountable than foreign sites.
Of course, not everyone is necessarily on board with the changes. Independent Senator Nick Xenophon was particularly sharp in his criticism of the proposals, calling them a “thinly disguised sell-out to expose more Australians to online gambling.” Others have been more muted, but have still wondered if the government might be pushing the reforms too quickly before fully considering how to minimize any harmful effects.
Overall, though, the prospects for some sort of liberalisation of Australia’s online gambling laws – including reforms to both bookmakers and online poker – appear strong. While the specifics of any reforms to the IGA may well change between now and when they go into law, it’s likely that the general principles of the current report will survive, and some have predicted that the new gambling laws could be passed within a year.