A review of the 2001 Interactive Gambling Act (IGA) by Social Services Minister Scott Morrison was ordered by Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbot on Tuesday, as reported by The Australian. Potentially leading the review that will focus on updating the IGA to reflect sports betting‘s current technological landscape is Barry O’Farrell, former premier of New South Wales.
Ensuring the public and stakeholders would have “ample opportunity” to provide input, and that the government had “no preconceived ideas” regarding the review, Morrison urged both to be patient with the process.
Among the anticipated changes to the IGA include stricter penalties for internationally licensed online operators who emit their signals into Australia. Also in process is a national self-exclusion register, which would be the equivalent of a “do not serve” list, and possibly the allowance of online casino products. Still unknown is what will be done with in-play betting which is currently only permitted in-person at a retail betting outlet or over the phone. However, technological advances to online gambling such as William Hill’s Click To Call in-play sports betting app, intended to bypass the regulation, may force politicians to rewrite the law to either ban or approve the practice.
According to Matt Tripp, CrownBet CEO, Australian’s already have access to in-play betting on “about 2500 illegal websites around the world.” Tripp urged the government to “protect the consumer by ring-fencing it here,” and “taxing it appropriately.”
Gambling opponent, Independent Sen. Nick Xenophon, has said he will submit his own proposed changes to the IGA, including a ban on gambling advertising during sports events. The review is expected to conclude by year’s end.