Feeds

Australia bets on licences for offshore gambling websites

Review of gaming laws suggests licensing, blacklisting, for poker sites and bookies

SANS - Survey on application security programs

Australian policymakers may have gotten themselves in another technological tangle, this time over which mediums are fit for the purpose of gambling.

The source of the brawl is a review of Australia’s Interactive Gambling Act commissioned by the sprawling Ministry of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy. The Actcurrently makes it illegal to use unlicensed online gambling services, but of course has no effect on offshore operators who happily take Aussie cash. Indeed, the report notes that not a single prosecution has taken place since its 2001 introduction.

The review was therefore called to assess the Act’s suitability, given that rather a lot has happened to interactive technologies since 2001. That progress is nicely illustrated by the fact a distinguished prominent Australian, the soon to be Mr L. Hurley, promotes an online poker venture.

The review suggests a new licensing regime that would mean offshore gambling services need a licence to serve local punters, an arrangement that would allow Australia to milk them for license fees. But licences would only be granted to sites that “cease offering higher risk types of online gambling (for example, online slot machines) to Australians and only offer online gambling services that are of a relatively lower risk (for example, online tournament poker), and agree to comply with a set of strong harm minimisation and consumer protection measures.”

That stance has ignited a domestic political brawl, with Australia’s opposition declaring every smartphone in the land will become a gateway to family-impoverishing betting services under the regime on offer. A suggestion in the interim report that some in-game bets currently possible through voice services might be available on the Web has also raised opposition ire (and concerns in the interim report about the kind of betting activity that plagues cricket).

The interim report will also, The Reg imagines, soon raise eyebrows among online libertarians thanks to a discussion of URL blocking as one enforcement option. Australia has form with that idea, as a national net filter is current policy, although funding for implementation of the idea has been conveniently ignored. The interim report does, however, suggest adding unlicensed gambling sites to the same URL blacklists the government shares with web filter vendors.

Of possible greater interest to the rest of the world is a suggestion Australia join the USA and other nations asking financial institutions to block transactions with unlicensed gambling services. The report even raises the prospect of folks known to work for unlicensed gambling services being added to the Movement Alert Lists used to deny entry visas to people Australia feels it would rather not admit to its soil.

As this is an interim report, its recommendations are a long way from becoming policy. But with Australia already on the nose internationally thanks to the proposed national filter, any reforms to online gambling are sure to be closely watched. ®

Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction

More from The Register

next story
Lavabit loses contempt of court appeal over protecting Snowden, customers
Judges rule complaints about government power are too little, too late
Don't let no-hire pact suit witnesses call Steve Jobs a bullyboy, plead Apple and Google
'Irrelevant' character evidence should be excluded – lawyers
Record labels sue Pandora over vintage song royalties
Companies want payout on recordings made before 1972
EFF: Feds plan to put 52 MILLION FACES into recognition database
System would identify faces as part of biometrics collection
Edward Snowden on his Putin TV appearance: 'Why all the criticism?'
Denies Q&A cameo was meant to slam US, big-up Russia
Ex-Tony Blair adviser is new top boss at UK spy-hive GCHQ
Robert Hannigan to replace Sir Iain Lobban in the autumn
Judge halts spread of zombie Nortel patents to Texas in Google trial
Epic Rockstar patent war to be waged in California
German space centre endures cyber attack
Chinese code retrieved but NSA hack not ruled out
APPLE FAILS to ditch class action suit over ebook PRICE-FIX fiasco
Do not pass go, do cough (up to) $840m in damages
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
SANS - Survey on application security programs
In this whitepaper learn about the state of application security programs and practices of 488 surveyed respondents, and discover how mature and effective these programs are.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.