Joint Minister for Human Services - Online Gambling Reforms Pass Senate
9 August 2017
Turnbull Government’s online gambling reforms passed the Senate today.
passage of the Interactive Gambling Amendment Bill 2016 (the Bill) will see a
crackdown on illegal offshore providers, the clarification of the law in relation
to ‘click to call’ in-play betting and a prohibition on wagering providers
offering lines of credit.
changes will be complemented by other significant consumer protections that
have been agreed with the states and territories, including a national
self-exclusion register and a voluntary opt-out pre-commitment scheme.
these represent the most significant set of online gambling reforms introduced
by a federal government.
recommendations of the O’Farrell Review into Illegal Offshore Wagering, the
Bill will crack down on illegal offshore gambling providers, ensuring that more
money and jobs are kept in the country. It will also ensure that Australians
are not inadvertently funding crime syndicates, which some overseas providers
are connected to. The specific measures in the Bill to do this include:
Amending the law to make it clear it’s illegal for overseas gambling
companies to offer products to Australians unless they hold a licence under
State or Territory laws;
Empowering the Australian Communications and
Media Authority (ACMA) with new civil penalties, complementing existing Australian
Federal Police criminal penalties powers and allowing ACMA to be responsible
for the entire complaint handling process from receipt to enforcement; and
Introducing other disruption measures to curb
illegal offshore gambling activity, such as placing offending company directors
on the Movement Alert List so any travel to Australia can be disrupted.
O’Farrell Review estimated between $64 million and $400 million is spent on
illegal online wagering services, with a further $100 million annually lost in
taxation revenue and product fees which are important to help fund support services
for problem gamblers.
Bill also clarifies the law in relation to ‘click to call’ in-play wagering to
respect the original intent of the Interactive Gambling Act.
wagering companies will also be prohibited from offering lines of credit under
the new laws. The Government believes there is too much of a conflict of
interest for a gambling company to be both a betting provider and a bank offering
credit to facilitate that betting.
important reforms are complemented by the Government’s media reform package
which includes further restrictions on gambling advertising during live sports
Minister Tudge said that these reforms
will make a significant difference in keeping money and jobs in Australia and
providing sensible consumer protections for gamblers.
“We are presently losing hundreds of
millions of dollars to illegal offshore gambling providers, some of which are
connected to crime syndicates. These changes will help keep this money in
“Online gambling has three times the
rate of problem gambling than other forms and is growing the fastest. Unless we
put in sensible consumer protections now, the problems of the future will be in
“These reforms, along with the other
initiatives we are implementing with the states, provide a safer gambling
environment, while still allowing people to enjoy a punt.”
Minister Fifield said the stronger
enforcement mechanisms for the ACMA will crack down on the hundreds of illegal
gambling services that are easily accessible on the internet.
“The new powers will allow the ACMA to
implement civil penalties for breaches of the IGA provisions, plus they will make
the complaints process, and investigations, easier.
“We will also publish online lists of
licenced wagering providers in Australia which will help punters identify legal
sites,” Minister Fifield said.