Australia: ban on social casinos passes first test

Member of the parliament seeks to ban social casinos
Member of the parliament seeks to ban social casinos

A bill to ban social casinos in Australia will move forward to a second reading for a parliamentary vote.

Australia.- A bill to ban social casinos in Australia presented last week by independent member of parliament Andrew Wilkie has passed its first reading at the House of Representatives. It will now move to a second reading, allowing members of parliament to debate and vote on the bill.

During the reading, Wilkie said social casinos led to the transition of gamblers to online casinos, which are illegal in Australia.

He said: “Social casino games can also pave the way for problematic gambling, because they normalise gambling behaviors, increase the player’s confidence in winning and make gambling seem more socially acceptable and risk-free. This not only instills false confidence in players and encourages greater spending on social casinos but also primes players for movement on to more serious gambling sites.”

He said social casino games targeted children and teenagers, as well as adults through ads embedded in social media platforms, and this could ultimately encourage players “towards real-money gambling.”

He said: “Even if the underage player is not spending real currency, the simulated casino game can make young people more susceptible to gambling mechanics, to psychological tricks and to addiction.”

He also cited studies that showed a spike in traffic to social casinos during Australia’s Covid-19 lockdown, and an increase in spending on gambling in Australia.

Wilkie’s bill introduced last week proposes an amendment to the Interactive Gambling Act 2001, which prohibits online real-money casino gambling in Australia. The change would reclassify social casino gaming as gambling.

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