Tuesday March 12,2013 :  AUSSIE FEDS ACCUSED OF A ‘COP OUT' ON INTERNET GAMBLING (Update)
 
Release of government report raises the ire of betting firms, too
 
The news that the federal Australian government does not plan to go ahead with a five year trial of online poker has been met with criticism from all sides, according to the Sydney Morning Herald on Tuesday.
 
Released today, the report emphasises the government’s insistence on first developing a homogenous set of standards across all states and territories, that includes forcing punters to set deposit limits.
 
Well-known anti-online gambling politician, Sen. Nick Xenophon, described the report as a ‘cop-out', claiming that the federal government has the authority to impose an Australia-wide set of rules, and should do so without further delay.
 
Online casino-style games, such as poker, are banned in Australia, although online and mobile wagering on sports events is allowed.
 
Gambling groups were equally disappointed, if for different reasons. The trade association Wagering Council of Australia, immediately rejected governments plans for pre-commitment on gambling websites, saying the best way to promote responsible gambling online is to have a regulated Australian industry.
 
Chief executive Chris Downy said while the council had always supported a national standard for harm minimisation and consumer protection, the introduction of mandatory pre-commitment was not supported by evidence that online wagering and sports betting has led to a proliferation of problem gambling.
 
Bookies are also displeased by the government's failure to recommend changes that would formally allow ‘in-play' mobile and online betting
 
Sportsbet.com.au chief executive Cormac Barry said: ”The best reform package is one that protects our one-million-plus Australian punters by allowing them to bet with regulated Australian companies rather than forcing them offshore, into the hands of unregulated foreign websites.”