Friday July 1,2011 : If national government doesn’t strengthen oversight, state government may decide to do so
The newspaper The West Australian reports that the state government has indicated it may support the regulation of Australian internet gambling if the federal government cannot tighten oversight and enforcement of current laws.
In a submission to a federal parliamentary inquiry into gambling, the Western Australian Department of Gaming, Racing and Liquor said flaws in the Interactive Gambling Act were undermining the state's tough controls on betting.
Under the Act, it is illegal for websites to offer real money casino and poker games to Australian residents but The West Australian claimed Thursday that not one company had been prosecuted for a breach in the 10 years since the ban was enacted.
The department's submission said while the Act had successfully stopped Australian operators from launching websites and services to local punters, it was ineffective because it was too easy for players to access foreign websites.
With the federal government presently reviewing the Act, the department said if there was no practical option to improve its effectiveness, it would support regulating online gaming to Australians, subject to strict controls.
However, any Western Australian support would also be conditional on allowing individual states to "opt out" and ban operators from letting residents of that jurisdiction gamble online.