his year, Australia is expecting $74 million dollars it didn’t have in the last financial year, 2008-2009. This money will help fund many government programs. More importantly for many in a time of rising global unemployment, this money will help keep workers employed.
Senator Nick Xenophon isn’t overly interested in this money. He is more enthralled by the source, as this windfall comes from the populace tempting fortune. Xenophone is concerned that gambling addition is an epidemic contaminating his country. As such, he wishes to restrict, both land-based and internet gambling in Australia.
A pragmatic senator might push for legislation that would earmark some percentage (e.g. 10 percent) of all gambling tax revenue to direct it towards gambling related initiatives. For example, funding could be utilized to fund the clinics which council and treat gambling addicts. Moreover, some money could be used to educate people about the dangers of irresponsible gambling and – since people will gamble – how to be a sensible gambler, being responsible and minimizing loss.
Xenophone, however, hasn’t shown much understanding that $74 million or more could be used constructively, for the good of the entire nation. For him, the bottom line is “the fact that state government revenue is increasing at all indicates that whatever measures there are to tackle problem gambling, they are not effective.”
To be fair, Xenophone’s fears are not completely unfounded. Gambling in Australia is tremendously popular. It has even been suggested that Australians are now spending more on wagering than on petrol.
Likewise, legislating online gambling in Australia is more perverse than effective. Online casinos licensed in Australia are not allowed to accept Australian players. Meanwhile, Austalian gamblers are permitted to gamble online, but only at foreign casinos, beyond the reach of Australian consumer protection laws.
Of course, this also funnels countless taxable dollars out of the country, solving neither Xenophone’s pet peeve, nor any of Australia’s other problems.