As a follow-up to the Gambling Times news item on the problems faced by Australian Internet gaming sites we present the following Associated Press Release. We will refrain from editorial comment other than to suggest that should the bill pass the Senate it bodes ill for not only site operators situated in Australia but for a myriad of sites located outside of Australia’s jurisdiction! Once again “moral legislation” is alive and well!
ASSOCIATED PRESS, APRIL 6, 2001
AUSTRALIA INTERACTIVE GAMING BILL 2001
This Bill has been presented and read to the Senate on 5 April 2001.
The purpose of the Bill is to regulate interactive gambling and for related purposes. The intent is to limit the development of interactive gambling and to minimize the scope of problem gambling among Australians. This is intended to … prohibit Australian based interactive gambling services from permitting persons physically present within Australia from using an Australian based interactive gambling service.
The bill creates:
- an offence for providers with a specified link to Australia to provide interactive gambling services to a person physically present in Australia;
- an industry-based system for complaints as to availability of interactive gambling services to Australians;
- a requirement that the Australian Broadcast Authority (“ABA”) refer the complaint as to Internet content hosted in Australia, to the police if the ABA considers it appropriate;
- provision for prohibited Internet content hosted outside Australia and which is available to Australians by an operation linked to Australia to be notified to police and for the ABA to be responsible to notify internet service providers as to any such content. Such content to be dealt with in accordance with procedures in the industry code or standard;
- protection for internet service providers complying with any code or standard, from civil proceedings to the extent that the code or standard deals with the procedures for regulating Internet content (eg. procedures relating to provision of regularly updated Internet content filtering software to subscribers).
are defined to include:
- games of skill and/or skill and chance, played for money;
- or any other gambling services within the ordinary meaning of the term.
The definition is broad enough to include racing; sports betting; and lotteries as well as casino style games.
Industry codes may be created and registered with the ABA and voluntarily complied with, or the APA may prescribe industry standards compliance with which, is compulsory.
The penalties for non-compliance with the requirements of the Bill are substantial. Current penalties are $220,000.00 per day for an individual and $1.1 million per day for a corporation.
The Act is to be reviewed by the Minister before 1 July 2004 and a report must be prepared of the review.
Senator Brown has issued a press release stating that wagering should be exempt. The Bill has been referred to a Senate Committee to be debated on 23 May 2001.