In just a few short months the Australian moratorium on interactive gambling is scheduled to conclude, at which time it will be replaced by a permanent federal ban or stricter state regulatory systems and perhaps even new taxation schemes.
Interested parties on both sides of the issue are feverishly working behind the scenes to push fate and the moratorium's fallout into their favor.
One such group is the Australian Casino Association, which recently wrote to the federal government promoting a plan to reinstate Internet casino operations. Part of the group's reasoning is that Internet gambling is not the guilty party in Australia's huge gambling addiction numbers. Indeed, several reports have listed Australians as among the biggest gamblers in the world, no matter what medium is used.
In addition, the ACA letter, as reported by The Age, states:
Industry estimates indicate that more than 90 per cent of the revenue earned by Australian (online) operators will come from overseas.
Unworkable restrictions on our industry, in particular a ban as proposed by the government, will place Australian sites at a disadvantage to compete with the international market and will restrict the growth of export income, similarly for tax revenue.
The ACA also proposed that online casinos pay 1 percent of their total revenue to be used for community programs operating in states that use licensing and regulatory systems authorized by the federal government. "The association will (also) issue guidelines for safe online gambling in recognition of the fact that Australians can still access over a thousand overseas online sites that are not required to operate to the same high standards that are required of Australian sites," the letter added.
The ACA proposition could be a positive step for advocates of regulation rather than prohibition, however, they need only look back to last year--when convincing testimony against the moratorium wasn't enough to sway the Senate--to realize that an extremely difficult task lies ahead.