A new study predicts that during the coming year, nearly $1 billion will be spent at illegal online gambling sites in Australia. These sites are illegal in the sense that they are not licensed by the Australian government; however, most of the sites presumably hold gambling licenses from the countries where they operate from.
This prediction has startled the country’s decision makers, and the general consensus is that something needs to be done about it before online gambling becomes as big a social problem as slot machines. But because Australian gambling laws do not allow most forms of online gambling, with the exception of sports betting and lotteries, so the use of overseas gambling sites by local players is inevitable.
The Productivity Commission reported earlier this year on Australia’s gambling addiction, and suggested that the best course of action would be to simply lift the ban on internet gambling in Australia, but the federal government refused. Early next year, state and territory ministers intend to meet and discuss how they will tackle the issue.
Until then, the battle against gambling wages on, with many states proposing to introduce pre-commitment limits on pokies by 2012. Under the proposed plan, regular gamblers would be issued cards with a fixed amount of money on it at the beginning of their gambling sessions, and would not be allowed to gamble more than that amount until the next day.