Australia Might Legalize Online Gambling

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A draft report issued by the Productivity Commission, a special advisory body to the government of Australia recommends the legalization and regulation of online gambling, including poker and casino.

Australia maybe in track for legalizing and regulating online gambling. A draft report issued by the Productivity Commission, Australian Government’s independent research and advisory body on Oct 21 recommends that it is legalized and regulated. 

Today online gambling is basically forbidden in Australia. The Interactive Gambling Act (IGA) from 2001, prevented companies located in Australia from selling online gaming services to Australians. However, this law was not effective in preventing online gambling, since it did not prevent international companies from supplying online gaming to Australians, and did not forbid Australian citizens from accessing gaming websites. 

And so the Productivity Commission estimates that online gambling amounts for 4% of the huge Australian gambling market and has been growing rapidly. According to its estimations, the 2008 Australian online poker market amounts to $249M, and the 2008 Australian online casino market amounts to: $541M. 

After stipulating the pros and cons in the online gaming industry, and comparing its implications on Australian citizens to alternative gambling venues, such as poker machines which are extremely popular in Australia the productivity commission recommends  that the Australian Govermnment repeals the IGA and allow online gambling. However it also recommends that the government pose extensive regulatory restrictions on the activity. Such restrictions, the PC recommends should include: automated monitoring of players’ behaviors, and targeted harm minimization interventions. 

The Productivity Commission draft report is now open for public reaction. The final report will be submitted to the Australian government on February 2010.