Xenophon pushes for online betting crackdown

afp logoAnti-gambling war-lord Nick Xenophon has continuously ripped the Australian Federal Police for their lack of enforcement on laws that prohibit online casino sites from accepting bets from Australians.

The Sydney Morning Herald reported that Senator Xenophon said that following revelations in the Herald,  the Joint Select Committee on Gambling Reform inquiry would be expanded to include online casino sites. According to the Herald, he said it was ”very disturbing” that the AFP was not enforcing the law and the FBI and the AFP would be invited to make submissions to the inquiry. Currently, the AFP and the FBI are working together.

The Sydney Morning Herald described a situation in Australia similar to the US prior to Black Friday. The Herald described a situation in which Australians had long used sites such as PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker even though the Interactive Gambling Act prohibits the provision of ”an interactive gambling service to customers in Australia”.

”There could be a hidden epidemic of problem gambling from online gambling that we just don’t know about,” Senator Xenophon told the Herald. If you don’t know about it, then how do you know that there’s an epidemic? You can’t just throw out random statements without facts, and the AFP has pumped its breaks in following Xenophon’s rallying cry.

The AFP has said previously that it uses a model to determine which cases to devote its limited resources to. The AFP did not comment on Xenophon’s criticisms yesterday. It appears that the AFP is treading carefully on how it will approach this matter, and are refusing to wilt under pressure by the anti-gambling sensationalist, Xenophon.

Senator Xenophon does not support liberalising gambling laws, saying the more accessible online gambling is, the greater the risk of gambling problems developing.

According to the Herald, Xenophon plans on June 20 to introduce amendments to laws which would allow Australians to reverse credit card transactions with international gambling sites as long as it has not already been processed. This would be a huge blow to gaming operators as this would allow people to get their money back even after losing bets. It’s a brutish plan designed to push the gaming operators to stop accepting Australian customers.

According to the Herald, Jamie Nettleton, partner at law firm Addisons and an expert in legal issues relating to the gambling industry, said the government should liberalise gambling laws and regulate online casino sites. Nettleton said there was strong demand for online poker and prohibition would only push people to unregulated sites.

”This is part of the reason why countries like Italy, Spain, France and Denmark have all had a prohibitionist stance and are now going down a regulated alternative,” said Nettleton in the Herald.