Monday July 18, 2011 : Lack of resources precluded prosecution of 15 complaints on internet gambling
Reports in The Australian newspaper that the Irish sports betting operator Betdaq has illegally been offering its services to Australian punters have been followed by further revelations in the newspaper, which appears to be on something of a crusade against online gambling.
In its most recent report, The Australian again points to Betdaq and another internet gambling company, bet365 – one of the major UK operators.
The main thrust of the latest report is the lack of prosecutions against internet gambling companies by the Australian Federal Police, which has acknowledged that since 2009, 15 allegations of criminal breaches of the Interactive Gambling Act have not been investigated due to a lack of resources.
Companies involved in criminal betting and gambling offences can incur penalties of up to A$1.1 million a day.
The Australian reports: "In a submission lodged on July 12 with the joint select committee into gambling reform, the AFP national manager crime operations, Ramzi Jabbour, said: ‘In the previous two years, the AFP received 15 referrals concerning allegations of offences committed contrary to the act. In isolation, when compared to other criminal activity, these referrals were categorised as low priority for investigation and consequently not investigated.'
Earlier this week Betdaq confirmed that it had shut down its operations on Australian racing after revelations by The Australian that it was acting in contravention of both state and federal legalization.
However, Betdaq continues to flout the Interactive Gaming Act by offering Australian customers the opportunity to bet on its online poker and casino games, the newspaper alleges.
It goes on to reveal that on Thursday it was also able to open an account with bet365, which it claims accepts wagers without the appropriate licenses on AFL and NRL fixtures as well as other Australian sport, and additionally offers online casino gambling.
The newspaper claims that the federal police have alerted the federal government Communications Minister, Stephen Conroy, that they are under-resourced and have known of bet365's ‘illegal' activities since 2001.
A spokeswoman for Minister Conroy told the newspaper that the Interactive Gaming Act is to be reviewed, and that the terms of reference would be finalised shortly.
"The review will include an examination of the operation of the Act and the effectiveness of the current provisions," the spokesman said. "It will include further consideration of international regulatory approaches to online gambling.
"The review will also look at the enforcement of existing prohibitions on certain types of online gambling, the way the act applies to different technological platforms, and the growing number of Australian consumers gambling online in an unregulated environment."