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E-Sports gaming in Australia remains in limbo after IGAB

Fri, Mar 31, 9:17am by Staff Writer

The fate of skills-based gaming and which category it fits into remains undetermined after Australian federal parliament voted to close the ‘loopholes’ in its gambling laws last week.

Senator Nick Xenophon, who is the most active anti-gambling campaigner in this country, first raised the idea of classifying video games as gambling last year but a year on, the fate of skill-based gaming remains in limbo.

The game in question was the Counter Strike: Global Offensive, which is a first-person shooter video game, that corporate bookmakers have been offering odds on.

Xenophon wants to classify the game and others like it to be classified as ‘gambling’ in his gambling reform plans and says that children are ‘being groomed for gambling’ through the games, which he described as ‘incredibly misleading and deceptive.’

Deputy Secretary of the Liquor and Gaming office in New South Wales, Paul Newson, says the reason that skills-based gaming continues to be an ongoing debate in this country is because it is not as mature in Australia as it is elsewhere in the world.

“I don’t think there’s a clear position. I made a comment that the market is not as mature in Australia as it is elsewhere.” Newson told

Newson went on to say that the legislators need to reach a decision on whether the government should allow skill-based gaming or not.

Currently, the Northern Territory, which licenses most of Australia’s corporate bookmakers, is the only jurisdiction which allows betting on eSports but State governments across the country have been approached to legalise betting on video games.

There is also the added complication of virtual currency or skins gambling on games via platforms such as Steam.

Newson said ‘the biggest debate I see it now is about whether or not skills-based gaming at all should be allowed’.

“Whether it should be bet on, whether it is eSports, whether it is in the electronic gaming environment, whether they should be allowed to evolve into some measure of skill and chance, so that’s an ongoing debate.”

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