“Australians have unlicensed casinos in their pocket”

The legal gambling sector says most of the growth in spending has been via unlicensed offshore sites.
The legal gambling sector says most of the growth in spending has been via unlicensed offshore sites.

The RWA has warned that the surge in gambling spending during the Covid-19 crisis was fuelled by illegal websites.

Australia.- The representative body for legal gambling operators in Australia, Responsible Wagering Australia (RWA), has warned that the recent growth in gambling spending reported during the Covid-19 lockdown was almost entirely through illegal sites.

Referring to recent reports based on consumer credit data showing a surge in gambling spending during lockdown, the body says most of the increase has been through illegal offshore gaming sites, with growth on legal gambling platforms being much more moderate.

RWA CEO, Brent Jackson said in a press release on Tuesday: “Historical consumer credit data is being used to create alarmist reports that gambling has surged during the COVID crisis.”

He said growth on legal platforms had been a “normal market response” to changes in conditions under the health crisis.

Online casinos and pokies were operating against Australian law, Jackson said, but while it is illegal to offer the products, it is no illegal to access them from Australia.

He added: “Our concern is that a lot of the growth in online gambling has gone to unlicensed overseas betting websites that offer no consumer protections at all.

“The growth of smartphones combined with the high number of illegal overseas gambling websites targeting Australians 24/7 means that many people are walking around with an unlicensed casino in their pocket.”

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