Australian Internet Gaming Sites Battle To Keep From Going “Down Under.”

Faced with the possibility of a total ban on domestic Internet gambling sites by the federal government, casino operators in the Northern Territories, in cooperation with State Gaming regulators, have drafted as set of rules that, they hope, will make such a move unnecessary. Approved by the Australian Casino Association (ACA), the drafts have been sent to other state governments for input.

The federal government has already imposed a twelve-month moratorium on new Internet gambling sites but this is set to expire on May 19th. When the legislature meets after this date they will essentially have four options.

(A)To do nothing and allow “business as usual.”
(B)To extend the moratorium.
(C)To ban all domestic sites.
(D)To adopt the rules approved by the ACA

To forestall a total ban the operators have proposed the following rules.

(1)Internet gambling sites would be subject to the same licensing requirements as other gaming businesses.
(2)Services must be marketed responsibly.
(3)Software must be secure and easily audited with all transactions logged, and must pass an independent test.
(4)Personal information must not be transmitted without client’s permission.
(5)Proof of ID required before a client is allowed to register.
(6)No minors allowed to game.
(7)No credit card betting.
(8)Players to be allowed to ban themselves from playing for a minimum of seven days, with a total ban on playing after three self-exclusions.
(9)Players to be allowed to set betting limits, and player returns provided.

In addition, Internet gaming operators would allot 1% of their revenues to anti-gambling programs.

The ACA emphasized that Australia has had an excellent record of responsibility and safety in the gaming industry, both on and off-line, and is concerned that a total ban on domestic Internet gaming would only serve to drive bettors to unregulated and insecure off-shore sites.