Online Casinos Flout Australian Gambling Laws

by Noah Taylor Last Updated

The Australian Federal Government is seriously investigating complaints that several online casinos are openly flouting the Australian online gambling laws. The government has been warned that over $300 million in bets is being taken by offshore cyber casinos despite legal prohibitions.

Australian legislation forbids offshore casinos from taking bets placed by Australians at online poker rooms and casino games. Those continuing to do so may be fined up to $1.1 million per day. Despite this, several online gambling sites continue to allow Australian gamblers to place bets.

The sites under scrutiny are no small fish but are in fact some of the biggest players in the industry. Industry leaders Full Tilt and PokerStars may be breaking the law. While 888 Poker goes a step further using Australian icons such as cricketer Shane Warne and boxing champion Jeff Fenech to promote their services. 888 Poker is also openly advertising the poker Ashes. However, 888 is not an Australian company, it is based in Gibraltar and is even listed on the London stock exchange.

Australian betting giant Betfair has made a submission to the Productivity Commission which will inquire into and investigate the gambling process and set up in Australia. According to Betfair, current legislations and rules are being ignored by offshore companies, resulting in the federal government losing out on a significant chunk of tax revenue that is usually payable by Australian gambling operators. Betfair also said as these offshore casinos are not answerable to the commonwealth; players are at a slightly larger risk of being defrauded.

The chief flaw in the online gambling laws is probably that the legislation was constructed at least a decade ago. As gambling online was only in infant stages at the time, the current popularity could not have been apprehended.

Melbourne-based Betfair is demanding for an immediate review of gambling practices by offshore companies and is also calling for legislation that allows Australian companies to offer gambling opportunities to Australian players. In addition, Betfair is also hoping to put an end to “in the run” betting where players can bet even while a match is in progress. While Betfair does not offer this, it claims most offshore companies are making a quick buck by not preventing Australians from placing such “in the run” bets which are most popular in sports.

If Betfair is successful, errant offshore operators may have to empty their pockets to the Australian government. However, Australian gamblers will also probably be deprived of some good gambling options.

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