Feeds

Australia to make online gambling illegal

Loses its mind, not its shirt

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

Not satisfied with nannying laws over Internet content, the luddites in the Australian federal government have set their sights on online gambling.

There was widespread confusion earlier this month over proposed legislation that made it an offence for Australians to post anything unsuitable for kids on the Internet.

Now an official notice on the government's Web site says: "The Federal Government will shortly introduce legislation to prohibit Australian gambling service providers from providing online and interactive gambling and wagering services to people located in Australia, the Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts, Senator Richard Alston announced today."

It goes on: "The prohibition will apply to all gaming and wagering services, including poker machines, casino games, sports betting and lotteries, that are offered on a commercial basis over the Internet or through online delivery systems such as interactive television and advanced mobile phone technologies,' Senator Alston said."

The law will not apply to Australian gambling companies that only serve people outside Australia however. The onus is apparently not on ISPs (this time) but gambling companies. They will have to "determine whether users are physically located in Australia and, if they are, to prevent them from accessing the gambling site".

What is going on down there? The government appears to have gone stark raving mad. Not only is the legislation over the top it is also completely impractical. We had the same thing in France with the Yahoo auction case. Then, the government ruled that Yahoo! would have to block any French citizens from accessing its US auction site because it sold Nazi memorabilia. A panel of experts decided this was possible, although one subsequently announced that it was impossible to block users because of the way the Internet is set up.

It's not only impossible - because people only have to sign up to a non-Australian provider - it is also foolhardy because it will cost the industry a fortune to attempt to run (while more people move away from it). Since it can be so easily bypassed, this really is an Internet Maginot line.

A telling piece of the official announcement says: "While it is a matter for other countries to decide how they will approach online gambling, Australia's status as one of the world's leading problem gambling nations demands that we take decisive action to protect the most vulnerable in our community." Most vulnerable? They've been watching too many Neighbours re-runs. And all this comes on the back of the law that makes Australians liable for any (yes, any) information on the Internet that the police (yes, the police) decide is unsuitable for children.

The Prime Minister, John Howard, is right behind the legislation. He "acknowledges it [the banning of all forms of Internet gambling for every Australian] will be difficult to achieve, but believes it is worth trying." He said: "When indulged into excess, it has hugely damaging social and family consequences."

Should a prime minister, charged with running the country, use his position to enforce his moral beliefs as well? Isn't that what religious leaders, philosophers, game show hosts et al are for?

There has been some heavy criticism but less than you might expect. Political enemies have "serious doubts" about the legislation but are not prepared to put their career on the line. Also, most of the criticism seems to be more about the impracticality of it, rather than the fact that the government is damaging a very important industry as well as trying to bluntly and blatantly control its citizens. ®

Related Link

Official release

Related Stories

This man must be the biggest luddite in history
Australia goes stark raving mad over Net censorship
Australia outlaws e-mail forwarding
Yahoo! Nazi tech expert backtracks
Yahoo! legally obliged to ban the French?

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

More from The Register

next story
BBC: We're going to slip CODING into kids' TV
Pureed-carrot-in-ice cream C++ surprise
6 Obvious Reasons Why Facebook Will Ban This Article (Thank God)
Clampdown on clickbait ... and El Reg is OK with this
Twitter: La la la, we have not heard of any NUDE JLaw, Upton SELFIES
If there are any on our site it is not our fault as we are not a PUBLISHER
Facebook, Google and Instagram 'worse than drugs' says Miley Cyrus
Italian boffins agree with popette's theory that haters are the real wrecking balls
Sit tight, fanbois. Apple's '$400' wearable release slips into early 2015
Sources: time to put in plenty of clock-watching for' iWatch
Facebook to let stalkers unearth buried posts with mobe search
Prepare to HAUNT your pal's back catalogue
Ex-IBM CEO John Akers dies at 79
An era disrupted by the advent of the PC
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?