Sat, Aug 31, 11:46pm by Kevin Pitstock
Joe Hachem, the only Australian to win the World Series of Poker Main Event, recently tweeted his concerns about Tony Abbott’s post-election online gambling policies.
Hachem recently went on Twitter to express his alarm at the Coalition’s nominee for Australian Prime Minister, Liberal Party leader Tony Abbott.
In his response to Mr Abbott’s previous quotes on the subject, Hachem tweeted, “I HATE ignorance in any form but esp. when coming from people in political power.”
Joe Hachem’s alarm is shared by countless online gamblers, not to mention the websites they frequent. The results of the upcoming Australian election have international online poker sites and their patrons concerned about the continuing legality of the industry in Australia.
Aussie online punters might not be aware of the apprehension, or why reason exists to be apprehensive. Tony Abbott has made a statements which show his hostility to online gambling of any kind. If Tony Abbott and the Liberal Party win, as expected, it could affect how the online gambling industry is governed by the Australian government. In fact, those changes could be profound.
The common wisdom is a victory by Kevin Rudd’s Labor Party would be a victory for the status quo. At present in Australia, online gambling is banned by the Interactive Gaming Act of 2001. Though this law is on the books for over 10 years, no Australian government has enforced the IGA. The Labor government have continued that policy.
It’s thought a victory by the Coalition (a longstanding alliance between the Liberal and National parties) could mean tougher laws against online gaming real money operators. It would not require many new laws to enforce bans on computer gambling. It would take officials with the will to enforce the IGA. Tony Abbott might be that office-holder.
Not much has been written in the Australian media about the implications for online gambling if the Coalition’s rises to power, but on the Internet, the topic is more immediate. Tony Abbott has promised a ban on online gambling for real money, claiming Internet gaming is “a dark cave into which people can so easily retreat and there they are beyond help.”
In an ironic twist, it appears that the national government under the Coalition would roll back many of the recent gaming reforms by the Labor government. Tony Abbot has said he would end mandatory precommitment plans, along with the national regulatory authorities, because they are seen by the Liberal Party as an intrusion into gamblers’ lives.
Instead, Mr Abbott would create laws to facilitate voluntary pre-commitment, while turning problem gambling help initiatives over to a committee led by the land-based club and casino operators. In other words, the live gambling industry in Australia would be tasked with rehabilitating gambling addicts. The argument behind such a policy is the business community knows their niche the best.
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