Legislators in Australia have decided that online Bingo in Oz will not be legalised despite recommendations to the contrary from a board of policy advisors. The panel advised in no uncertain terms that online bingo, poker and casino games should in fact be legal for Australians.
The communications minister, Stephen Conroy alleged that the potential increase in problem gambling far outweighed the possible benefits of making online gambling legal.
Australia posses one of the highest concentrations of problem gambling, with it being estimated there are over 160,000 problem gamblers. However, it is widely believed the problem is a direct result of – specifically -slot machines plus the combination of alcohol and gambling. Online Bingo would appear to be quite separate from this.
Despite the ban on online gambling, Australians have still managed to play by choosing to play on unlicensed sites. The law is such that it is the sites themselves that are illegal – not the players.
Despite the evidence and the advice given by the independent advisory panel who recommended the tax and protection benefits of allowing online gambling would actually be worthwhile, the government disregarded the advice.
Conroy said the government would begin making efforts towards a crack down on online operators overseas specifically targeting Australian players and were making steps to getting advice from the American legislators on the way they managed to pass their own Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act.
A number of British based companies had been eager to acquire Australian gambling licences in the hope of changes in the laws on online betting.