12/13/09 – Betfair's Aussie chief executive, Andrew Twaits, spoke up for online gambling this week in giving testimony before the Australian Productivity Commission in Melbourne.
Addressing the subject of problem gambling, Twaits said: ”I think what we as an industry need to do is to provide the safest platform that we possibly can. Having the right sort of safeguards in terms of loss limits and deposit limits is the best way of preventing problem gambling.”
Twaits was upfront with the Commission, saying that while he supported a liberalisation of online gaming laws, ”I can't sit here and tell you there won't be more problem gamblers created through online gaming or online wagering."
The Commission is tasked by the Australian government with investigating gambling in the country, and in October this year made headlines by recommending that the federal government ”initiate a process for the managed liberalisation of online gaming” .
”Whilst it is probable that this ban [on internet gambling operators] reduced the growth of online gaming, it is clear that international sites are being increasingly accessed and the Australian ban has limited utility,” the commission's draft report found.
It is not illegal for consumers to access and use internet casino gaming products in Australia, but it is illegal for an operator to offer them to Australian customers. Online wagering on horse races and sports betting is not restricted.
It has been estimated that Australians already spend A$790 million a year on overseas gaming sites.
”Clearly the vast majority of consumers want to engage, or they are engaging, in poker in pubs and clubs … this [Internet gambling] is just another channel of distribution,” said Twaits.
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