Regulator swimming against the tide as offshore iGaming platforms target Australian gamers 

Is any nation subject to quite as many clichéd images as Australia?

1980s images from the movie and music business certainly served to exaggerate the laid back, beer-swilling, surfing, sport loving image to almost comic book proportions. However, like all good clichés, these ones are built on some basic facts. One is that Australians love a wager. The nation spends comfortably more per capita on betting than any other country, and about twice as much as the Irish.  

Regulators say no to online betting 

Over recent years, most nations around the world have been adjusting their habits and their laws to meet the new opportunities offered by cyberspace. That’s been especially so in the casino gaming and sports betting world. Of course, the shift towards online options has been even more pronounced in the unusual circumstances we’ve seen in recent months. 

On the face of it, the same appears to be the case in Australia. A glance down the listings on https://www.australiancasinosites.com/ shows a long list of online platforms where Australians can log on to play roulette, slots and so on. However, look a little closer and you’ll notice something odd. None of these are actually based in Australia.  

 The reason for that is simple enough. In 2001, Australia introduced the Interactive Gambling Act (IGA), which prohibits the provision of web-based gambling services to Australian citizens. The IGA is enforced by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA).  

The worst of all worlds 

20 years ago, the IGA might have made sense. Today, it seems bizarre. After all, we are now living in a world where nations like the USA and India are changing their laws to allow for online gambling. This is despite these nations having a comparatively conservative, even puritanical, view of gambling compared with the traditionally relaxed attitude towards the topic in Australia.  

The fact that the Act prohibits the provision but not use of online gambling facilities just means the door is open wide to offshore providers. Australians can use their services without breaking any rules, and the efforts of the ACMA to find and block the hundreds of offshore sites that pitch their casino gaming wares to Australian audiences are almost comical in their futility.  

However, it’s really no laughing matter. While most of the sites mentioned above are connected with reputable providers, there are plenty of others targeting the Australia market that are far more sketchy. The result is that Australian casino gamers are placing themselves at greater risk, while the Australian economy is not earning a cent in tax revenue from what could be a booming industry.  

It seems inevitable that change will come sooner or later. A properly regulated online gambling market will mean the industry’s big names move in. It will lead to more choice and a far safer experience for players, while generating millions in tax revenue at a time when economies the world over are struggling to combat record-breaking deficits.