Australia to launch inquiry into online gambling

The Committee is seeking written submissions.
The Committee is seeking written submissions.

The inquiry will also look at how effective advertising restrictions are at preventing children from being exposed to gambling products.

Australia.- The House of Representatives Standing Committee on Social Policy and Legal Affairs has launched an inquiry into online gambling and its impact on people with gambling problems. According to a media release from the Parliament of Australia, the committee is taking written submissions by November 11

Peta Murphy MP, chair of the committee, said: “the inquiry will be a fresh look at online gambling and whether current laws, regulations, consumer protections and education and support programs are enough to reduce harm to gamblers.

“The Committee is concerned about the increasing reach of online gambling platforms into Australians’ lives, the exposure of children and young people to gambling advertising and how this may contribute to increases in problem gambling in the future.”

The committee said it will examine how to better target programs to address online problem gambling to reduce the potential exploitation of at-risk people and protect individuals, families and communities. It will also analyse the quality of and access to online gambling education programmes and the appropriateness of gambling regulations in light of emerging technologies, payment options and products.

The gaming industry remains under close scrutiny in Australia, with Adam Bell SC’s report into The Star Entertainment having concluded that the operator is not suitable to operate casinos in New South Wales. Meanwhile, the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC) has commenced an investigation into Entain Group Pty Ltd to probe whether the company has complied with its obligations under the AML/CTF Act.

A study by Monash University’s Gambling and Social Determinants Unit showed that Australians lost more than AU$11.4bn (US$7.74bn) on slots, or poker machines, in pubs and clubs across five states last year.

In August, the Victorian Government introduced 12 more measures from the 33 recommendations made by Judge Raymond Finkelstein, who led the state of Victoria’s inquiry into Crown Resorts. Meanwhile, the parliament of New South Wales has approved the Casino Legislation Amendment Bill 2022.

The new legislation establishes the New South Wales Independent Casino Commission (NICC) as an independent casino regulator. It also eliminates compensation triggers for casino operators in relation to regulatory action taken by parliament, the government or the regulator.

According to authorities, amendments to the bill also want to ensure that each casino operator prevents money laundering and terrorism financing activities within the operations of the casino. 

The law requires that casino operators ensure gaming machines and certain gaming-related signs are not visible outside the boundary of the casino. It also prohibits a casino operator from accepting more than AU$1,000 cash per day from a customer for wagering purposes. It also specifies the period for which closed-circuit television footage recorded for conducting monitoring and surveillance of operations in the casino must be kept.

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