Friday November 6,2015 : U.S. AND AUSTRALIAN TRADE ASSOCIATIONS TO UNITE AGAINST ILLEGAL ONLINE GAMBLING
But there are some pretty wild and unsubstantiated comments being thrown around.
Making the headlines in Australia is a statement by the trade association Clubs Australia that it is to partner with the American Gaming Association to "tackle illegal gambling websites", which Clubs executive director Anthony Ball claims have created a scenario analogous with the Wild West.
Ball doesn't stop there in making broad and unsubstantiated accusations, regurgitating the questionable mantra that "…illegal offshore sites could be used for money laundering and terrorism financing."
Ball says that an international approach to the growing issue is needed.
“What we have had with the advent of the internet and online gambling is activity on phones and tablets that is unregulated – it’s the Wild West,” he said in a press statement.
“You have companies who operate in tax havens internationally, providing these services to Australians illegally.”
He adds that there are estimates that Americans and Australians spend $4 billion and A$1.2 billion, respectively, a year on illegal overseas gambling websites.
Australia’s financial intelligence agency AUSTRAC has revealed that it has recorded a 300 percent increase in the number of suspicious money transactions relating to terrorism, but does not indicate how much of that – if any – is directly attributable to online gambling operators, or how many incidents resulted in firm evidence of wrongdoing and prosecution.
Ball's motivation in attacking online gambling is more likely commercially oriented, given that his organisation represents licensed clubs and other gambling businesses Downunder.
He emphasises that such establishments are subject to robust enforcement and have anti-money laundering measures (as if online gambling operators do not), saying:
“On illegal offshore gambling sites there is a risk there that is not being managed and the AUSTRACs of the world that regulate these transactions don’t have visibility on any of those.”
Clubs Australia is also calling for moves to ensure Australian financial institutions that facilitate transactions with illegal operators put a stop to the practice, claiming that there are Aussie financial businesses that “knowingly or unwittingly” enable transactions on illegal services.
“We will be speaking and writing to them telling them they shouldn’t be and, if they are, to stop it as they are enabling an illegal transaction,” he said.
Ball's organisation and the AGA will work together to provide details of illegal gambling operations to their respective governments in order to force their closure. They have additionally committed to lobbying their governments to more energetically enforce laws against illegal operators.