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The Australian federal government has taken a decisive step to combat problem gambling by introducing legislation to ban the use of credit cards for online betting. This significant move is aimed at reducing the financial risks associated with online gambling and protecting vulnerable individuals from falling into debt traps.
The Interactive Gambling Amendment (Credit and Other Measures) Bill 2023, represents a crucial step in safeguarding Australians from the potential harms associated with online gambling. Under the new laws, companies failing to enforce the credit card ban will face substantial fines, exceeding $234,000. The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) will be granted enhanced powers to ensure strict adherence to these changes.
To ensure the effectiveness of the ban, the legislation includes provisions to address emerging credit payment methods that could potentially exploit loopholes in the gambling laws.
Both gamblers and betting companies will have a six-month transition period to adjust their gambling habits once the new laws are successfully passed in parliament.
Federal, state, and territory ministers are expected to convene later this year to further discuss changes to online gambling regulations
September 1st marked the deadline for compliance with new regulations regarding gambling signage at pubs and clubs across New South Wales. Pubs and clubs found in breach of these laws could face substantial fines of up to $11,000.
The New South Wales state government set September 1 as the cutoff date for the removal of all exterior gambling-related signage. However, there is an exception for pubs and clubs that can demonstrate external factors beyond their control that prevent them from removing the signage by today. In such cases, they will have an additional three months to comply.
A”zero tolerance” approach will be implemented for those in violation of these regulations. The government urges citizens to report any establishments with gambling-related signage still in place after September 1.
The banned phrases now include “VIP Room,” “VIP Lounge,” “Golden Room/Lounge,” “Players’ Room/Lounge,” and “Prosperity Room/Lounge,” along with images of “dragons, coins, or lightning motifs.”
In a bid to enhance regulations around electronic gaming machines, Victoria is taking decisive steps to curb betting involving minors in sports. The Victorian Gambling and Casino Control Commission (VGCCC) has enacted a series of measures aimed at preserving the integrity of both sports and the well-being of young individuals.
The VGCCC’s latest move involves a comprehensive ban on betting activities pertaining to individuals under the age of 19 participating in sports. Additionally, wagers on players under the age of 18 engaging in junior and senior sports are also prohibited.
The VGCCC underscores its commitment to the public interest by labeling the practice of betting on minors’ sports performance as contrary to societal well-being. This prohibition is rooted in concerns surrounding both the integrity of sporting events and the potential risks associated with gambling.
The ban extends to sports events exclusively involving minors, under-19 competitions, and open events featuring young participants. While certain specific outcomes are no longer open for wagers, team sports in which minors participate are still eligible for betting activities.
Sports organizations have been swiftly informed of their obligation to update agreements with betting providers to align with the new regulations. A window of 60 days has been granted to ensure full compliance with these imperative updates.
Fran Thorn, Chair of VGCCC, asserts that betting on minors is unequivocally unacceptable. The VGCCC vows to take appropriate action in cases of non-compliance, which could encompass the revocation of approvals and legal actions against betting providers.
This latest move by VGCCC follows its recent introduction of reforms targeting electronic gaming machines. These reforms, announced by Premier Daniel Andrews and Melissa Horne, Minister for Casino, Gaming, and Liquor Regulation, are designed to bolster existing protections and promote responsible gaming practices.
Chris Minns and the NSW Government is committed to reducing gambling harm and combatting criminal activities associated with the gambling industry, such as money laundering. To accomplish this, they have chosen to establish an independent panel as the authorized entity responsible for implementing essential gaming reforms. Here is a summary of the latest proposals:-
The New South Wales Government (NSW) has made a bold move to help those who need it most – raising the casino tax rate in order to direct more resources towards disadvantaged communities. This influx of additional funding will hopefully create lasting positive change, improving the quality of life and opportunities for many.
NSW casinos will begin paying higher taxes on table games and poker machine winnings from July next year, in a plan that is expected to raise more than $350 million for the state over three years.
The New South Wales government plans to make casino operators pay more taxes next year in order to compensate for areas hit hardest by the global economic crisis. The changes are being made in order to support the state’s fiscal sustainability in the wake of recent catastrophes including the COVID-19 pandemic, bushfires, and floods.
The proposed tax increase would see the tax rate on casino poker machines go up to as much as 60.67%. This follows the introduction of a 15% point of consumption tax earlier this year.
The proposed changes come as Premier Dominic Perrottet faces pushback from within his own cabinet on plans to reform poker machine gambling.
The NSW government is looking for at least AUD364 million. This would be 120 million per year. To cover this amount, they are considering levying a tax on gaming machines in all casinos across the state which would be significantly higher than what hotels and bars currently pay for their machines. The state government of New South Wales is proposing changes that would tax poker machine earnings at casinos at the same rate as those in clubs and pubs.
If the changes are implemented by next July, they could generate an extra $364 million for the state over three years.
Treasurer Matt Kean stated that it is important for casinos to “pay their fair share of tax,” and that these reforms will ensure they continue to make an appropriate contribution to the community.
The new poker machine tax rate will bring NSW on par with Victoria after the latter announced similar changes to their casino taxation policies in their Budget this year.
The fact that both Star Entertainment and Crown Resorts, two major casino operators in NSW, have recently been fined hundreds of millions of dollars for violating state laws by facilitating money laundering.
It was revealed that both Crown and Star Casino’s actions had annulled the tax agreements it negotiated due to its regulatory violations.
One of the biggest disputes in Australia’s casino industry centres around cashless gaming with many believing it will help reduce gambling addiction rates and money laundering schemes; however, ClubsNSW is lobbying against such changes being made mandatory throughout casinos nationwide.
Australians like to gamble. Gambling is a cherished tradition that shows the Aussie’s unrelenting spirit. It has been adopted as an integral part of the country’s culture. It is now considered a problem, and there is an outcry in the media to change government policy and address the issue of problem gambling.
While a few big gambling companies in Australia have defended their advertising policies, they also admitted to targeting underage individuals with their gambling advertisements, in spite of the criticism they received and the current regulations in place in the country. More solutions are needed to protect minors and those at risk from gambling-related harm. At the same time, activists are currently lobbying for more stringent safeguards and responsible gambling practices. These would be rightfully balanced against their legal rights to promote their services.
Research from H2 Gambling Capital once again proves Australians’ undying love for casino games. According to the new figures, the number of people from Australia who engage in online gambling is 20 percent higher than in any other country worldwide. Even more, Australia’s online gambling market is ranked third in size. Aussies like to truly get into it when they feel like engaging in their favourite online casino games, spending around $332 per person on online wagering alone.
When compared to players in Sweden who spend $276 per person, Aussies’ interest in captivating games is easy to spot. When engaged in gambling, Australians also tend to lose a lot of money. Data from the Australian Institute of Health & Wealth suggests that Aussies lost around $25 billion on all legal forms of gambling between 2018 and 2019. The number stood for the largest per capita losses at a global level. During the same period, estimates spoke of around 35% of all adults of at least 18 years of age, or the equivalent of 6.5 million spent money on gambling during a “typical month”.
Activists like Tim Costello believe that, besides Australians’ pure love for gambling, another factor leading to the important gambling losses registered in the country is the lack of sufficient regulations. Costello and others are, therefore, asking for more serious reform in the industry with better policies meant to protect all players.
The Australian Government, along with the state and territory governments, has introduced a series of consumer protections for online gamblers. Under the title of the “National Framework,” the ten adopted measures offer more powerful consumer protections for Australians who like to wager online. The measures are used to empower individuals to reduce online gambling harm. Players benefit from tools that are easy to use. They are offered crucial information on how to access support. This means controlled wagering and even including voluntary opt-out solutions. BetStop is the country’s self-exclusion register. There is also a shorter customer verification period of only three days, down from 14 days. For underage gamblers and self-excluded players, faster age and identity verification is necessary to reduce gambling harm.
For those seeking assistance and information about gambling, various free and confidential services are available 24/7. You can call the National Gambling Helpline on 1800 858 858, use online counseling, find information about help services in your state or territory, get support for family and friends, learn how to approach someone about their gambling, or contact Gamblers Anonymous.
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