More Pressure from the Feds Down Under

27 June 2000
And the battle rages on! The Australian Federal Government wants to prevent the introduction of any new interactive gaming and it's backing it up with some potentially heavy-hitting legislation, including fines of up to $1.1 million a day for offenders.

During the spring session, the government will introduce legislation to impose a 12-month moratorium effective May 19, 2000 preventing new interactive gambling services, including new services being offered by existing providers. The legislation, according to a press release from Senator Richard Alston, the Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts and Senator Jocelyn Newman, the Minister for Family and Community Services, would:

  • apply to all Australian-based interactive gambling service providers regardless of whether or not the service targets Australian residents;
  • be based on the date of introduction of new interactive gambling services and not the date of licensing;
  • broadly cover all forms of interactive gambling including gaming and wagering with specific exclusions for those services that are not intended to be affected, such as telephone betting and online stock trading;
  • be enforced by the Australian Federal Police as a criminal offense and attract significant maximum penalties of up to $1.1 million a day; and
  • enable the government to conduct a thorough investigation of the feasibility and consequences of a permanent ban on interactive gambling.

Federal authorities have taken this step because "the majority of states and territories have rejected the commonwealth's call for a voluntary moratorium on new interactive gambling," the press release said.

Alston previously said that he prefers an outright ban on interactive gambling.