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Australian Gambling Legislation and the Canadian Gambler

Ok, first, you may or may not know about the current gambling laws in force in Australia. It probably doesn't matter much to gamblers from Canada what theya re doing or not doing all the way down there in Australia. But it should.

Since 2001, Australia has had a gambling law. Called the Interactive Gambling Act - for interactive, read internet - it strictly prohibits offering or advertising gambling services to citizens of Australia. And it sets massive fines for operators who break this law. But the law only covers the gambling operators, the sites, casinos and poker rooms that offer gambling. it is in no way illegal for Australian citizens to actually gamle online. They can do that as much as they like. It is just a bit hard to find someplace that will actually let them gamble.

The argument that this is for the gamblers own protection doesn't really hold much water, as we all know legislation like this does not stop gamblers from gambling online, it just means that they have to gamble in unlicenced or badly licenced sites instead of nice safe sites. if they really wanted to help gamblers they could look at the self exclusion facility offered by many online casinos and online poker rooms, for example the Gaming Club.

Not only that, but it also allows gambling operators, casinos and poker rooms, to set up shop in Australia and offer their services to the rest of the world. In fact, one of the most well know poker rooms that continues to allow US players is based in Australia. That is all perfectly fine. But they cannot allow Australian citizens to play there. There seems to be some double standards at play here.

Even so, that is the current situation vis-a-vis gambling for Australians. Now, as we all know, there are talks in the US at the moment aimed at legalizing online gambling. Some of us belive that the initial UIGEA was only to facilitate taking the whole American market for American owned and operated online poker rooms anyway. That way, all that lovely tax revenue will be going to the American government, and not to some off shore operation which doesn't pay a penny to the Government.

Now we get to the interesting bit. The Australian IGA (2001) is currently being reviewed by the minister responsible for such things. And you might think that this is in line with the way the rest of the world is going - opening up internet gambling in order to raise revenue and boost the home economy, right? Well, we may have to think again. There is a liklihood that this IGA review will go the other way entirely. That they will actually make the law stronger against gambling for Australian citizens. Hey, crazier things have happened, and a lot closer to home!

We are going to have to wait and see what happens down under, but it is 50/50 which way this will come down. And you can bet that it will impact more than just Australians if it goes the wrong way.

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