Australia has introduced new legislation that will require online gambling operators active in the country to acquire local licences or face heavy fines.
Filed earlier today (Thursday), the new Interactive Gambling Amendment Bill 2016 will enable the Australian Communications and Media Authority to issue civil penalties, without the need to involve the Australian Federal Police
Operators that take bets from punters in Australia without a local licence will be deemed to have broken the law. Individuals face fines of up to A$1.35 million (€949,450/US$1.03) per day, while companies will be charged A$6.75 million.
The new legislation forms part of a wider effort by the Australian government to revamp the country’s market, with other measures including a ban on in-play betting applications, a crackdown on internationally licensed operators and the establishment of a National Consumer Protection Framework (NCPF).
Alan Tudge, Human Services Minister, earlier this year vowed to amend the Interactive Gambling Act 2001 to close loopholes that enabled licensed operators in the country to take in-play bets online.
Tudge is due to meet with state ministers later this month to discuss the NCPF, and also plans to introduce other measures as part of the revamp, such as creating a black-list of operators that consumers should avoid.
“Currently hundreds of illegal gambling services are easily accessible on the internet and we know that people are more likely to get into trouble online – 2.7% of interactive gamblers are problem gamblers compared to 0.9% of all gamblers,” Tudge said, according to The Guardian newspaper.
“We expect online wagering providers to meet community expectations; the tougher laws will seriously disrupt illegal offshore providers from acting unscrupulously or targeting vulnerable Australians.
“The government is committed to taking tougher action against illegal offshore wagering providers and this bill does exactly that.”
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