Saturday, April 30, 2016 :  AUSSIE ONLINE GAMBLING CLAMPDOWN –  WHAT'S NEXT?

Once the political bluster is done, when will implementation take place?
 
Australia's media had a field day late last week with the release of the O'Farrell review and ministerial pronouncements on a clampdown on online gambling in general and internet in-play betting in particular, but once the political bluster is done what is likely to happen?
 
The question was asked in the publication The Conversation, which doubted that the sizeable raft of new measures recommended by O'Farrell and accepted by the federal government would be legislated and rolled out in the immediate future.
 
For one thing, the federal government will have to tread carefully among the various states making up the Australian Commonwealth, all of which have powers and interests – especially financial interests – regarding gambling.
 
Whilst the federal government has authority and jurisdiction on online gambling, consumer credit, and television and internet advertising, the feds will have to work with the states and territories in the imposition of the proposals, especially as regards consumer protection measures.
 
The Conversation suggests that the federal government could take a rather arbitrary but politically risky step by "…clearing up the regulatory confusion with a single piece of legalization, and without any credible threat of a constitutional challenge," but draft legalization has neither been prepared nor, it seems, has been contemplated.
 
It points out that despite ministerial exhortations for companies to immediately cease offering online in-play wagering, no legislative changes are currently in motion…and it notes that whilst a collaborative exercise with the various states and territories is envisaged over the next 12 months, no specific timelines have emerged, suggesting that substantial planning and negotiating with the states still lie ahead.
 
"Some of the states and territories have a lot of revenue from online gambling (especially the Northern Territory). In such discussions, vested interest has a way of triumphing," the publication observes.