An Australian government watchdog has acknowledged that forcing ISPs to block international gambling industry sites is “heavy-handed” and would face strong opposition. The Australian reports that the Department of Broadband’s interim report on its review of the Interactive Gambling Act put forward a recommendation that the communications watchdog work with ISPs to enforce the blocking of certain sites.
“This approach places ISPs in a position where they would be enforcing prohibitions on gambling with overseas providers where there is no law that currently prevents Australian citizens from gambling on these sites,” the report states. “Submissions to the review suggested that Australian consumers have a very limited understanding of which online gambling services are prohibited under the IGA and which are not.”
It also admits the plans “would be strongly opposed by ISPs and other key stakeholders”. Currently there is no law to say that Australian consumers can’t access the sites so there is some way to go yet before any of this goes through. The report also added that criminalization of international sites was described as “heavy-handed” but that wasn’t the most ridiculous part.
Now gambling is used to being banded in with all manner of different vices. It’s had its time alongside alcohol, drugs…you name it. It’s no surprise that The Australian list that this ban will be alongside a similar one the Australian Communications and Media Authority maintains for child abuse sites. Nice touch.
The whole atmosphere in Australia towards online gambling hasn’t been the most welcoming with Senator Nick Xenophon last week bemoaning in-play betting plans by saying it enables the business “to diversify their addictive product to suck in more Australians”. It’s just Xenohpon, with the Green party proposing to treat gamblers with the same drunk used for heroin and hardcore alcohol addicts as there were “clear parallels” between the addictions.
Opponents seem to ignore the fact that regulators in Queensland and Northern Territory have worked particularly well with international operators, like bet365 and betfair. Take a leaf out of their book, offer a well regulated regime and they’ll be laughing as sports betting alone saw 70 percent of the population place a bet – a number that will grow only more with online gains.