Lawmakers of Australia have been quite busy over the past few months, working to change the law in a number of ways in regards to the gambling industry. Just last month, the Senate decided to pass a piece of legislation, like the House of Representatives, that would close loopholes that allow online casino and poker games to take place via unlicensed operators. Loopholes were also shutdown in regards to in-play sports betting. Now, it seems legislators are considering blocking ISPs in order to continue with shutdown of unlicensed operators in the country.
Alan Tudge, the Human Services Minister of Australia, stated that the government is considering ISP blocking as well as introducing new restrictions that would require financial institutions of the country to refuse transactions involving online gambling and unlicensed offshore sites. The comments were made by Tudge last week when he revealed the information behind the National Consumer Protection Framework, which includes 11 new measures to help protect consumers during online gambling game play.
Within the new measures, legislators have included the creation of a national self-exclusion register as well as a voluntary option which will allow players to set spending limits themselves. Betting companies will also be banned from offering lines of credit to gamblers. On the operator side, those who have a gaming license will to send customers activity statements which will help individuals to track gambling spending.
According to Tudge, these changes are expected to take place as soon as July. Tudge stated that the government is hopeful that the measures will have a profound impact and consumers will still be able to enjoy betting but have greater control and a less chance of getting into trouble. As online gambling is growing at a rate of 15% per annum, lawmakers are worried the future gambling problems will be an issue if ‘sensible action’ is not taken now.
The ISP blocking aspect could become a major issue and is likely to see opposition by advocates of net neutrality. Such groups believe in an open internet including ISPs.
With the changes being made in the country, several operators have already cut and run. 888, Vera&John and 32Red are just a few examples of those who were operating in Australia and have shut down services within the country.