Feeds

Australia bets on licences for offshore gambling websites

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

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

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. ®

Protecting against web application threats using SSL

More from The Register

next story
Hey, Scots. Microsoft's Bing thinks you'll vote NO to independence
World's top Google-finding website calls it for the UK
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
Apple CEO Tim Cook: TV is TERRIBLE and stuck in the 1970s
The iKing thinks telly is far too fiddly and ugly – basically, iTunes
Israeli spies rebel over mass-snooping on innocent Palestinians
'Disciplinary treatment will be sharp and clear' vow spy-chiefs
Huawei ditches new Windows Phone mobe plans, blames poor sales
Giganto mobe firm slams door shut on Microsoft. OH DEAR
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Found inside ISIS terror chap's laptop: CELINE DION tunes
REPORT: Stash of terrorist material found in Syria Dell box
OECD lashes out at tax avoiding globocorps' location-flipping antics
You hear that, Amazon, Google, Microsoft et al?
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet
Explores the current state of website security and the contributions Symantec is making to help organizations protect critical data and build trust with customers.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.