Heads Oz wins; tails you lose
Aussies go Net gambling barmy
The Australian government in its bid to make recent lunatic Internet legislation work has offered Aussie gamblers the Holy Grail: they can collect their winnings but won't have to pay their losses.
Under last-minute changes made to a new Internet gambling bill, Australian banks will be barred - by law - from honouring credit card debts built up by Aussie citizens on foreign gaming sites.
Obviously, this will leave foreign companies with a large amount of unclaimed debt. That's the whole point, says man behind the legislation Senator Alston. It will dissuade Internet gambling sites outside Australia from accepting Australian credit cards.
Fellow Democrat senator Lyn Allison, right behind the plan, added: "Foreign operators will be stuck with debts that they can't enforce we're happy with that."
No this isn't a joke, this is really happening.
Other changes made to the Bill - which was announced at the end of March - include: preventing foreign bookies from offering online bets to Aussies; an exemption for online sports betting but only for Australian companies and a request to other countries' governments that they prevent Australian companies from operating in their country.
Senator Alston has dumbfounded the rest of the world in recent months with proposed legislation that he hopes will protect Australians from themselves. He takes a fundamentalist Christian approach to gambling, offering to help families from this evil sin.
Australia does have a significant gambling problem but people were amazed when Alston pushed for a complete prohibition on Internet gambling. Just weeks before that he also put forward other anti-Internet bills that left people dazed and confused.
First of all he made it illegal for any Australian to forward an email to someone else because of copyright laws. Any violation would result in a Au$60,000 fine or five years in jail. Not content with this madness, he then proposed fines of up to Au$10,000 against any individual that posted material on the Internet that the police deemed unsuitable to be seen by minors.
Such over the top behaviour caused us to title him The Biggest Luddite in History. Incredible as it may seem, all these are expected to be passed into Australian law thanks to a political majority.
We would come up with some comedy suggestions for future laws, but we fear we may only inspire him. ®
Australian press report on this madness