Australia Creates Group to Watch Offshore Online Casinos
November 17, 2014
In Australia, online gambling is a particularly complicated arena. They are running into a problem that a lot of countries are having which is that they are trying to only run games that are licensed by their own government and that run from inside of the country. Along these lines, foreign operators are still able to provide games to players without paying any sort of taxes or fees that add to Australia's revenues. While it's not unreasonable for Australia to want to capitalize on the play of their citizens, they might not be going about it the best way possible.
They've recently announced what they're calling the Offshore Wagering Working Group, and their job is to basically figure out ways to combat these foreign operators to give more of the Australian market share to Australian companies. That's fair enough, but there are really only two ways that this can be done. The first way is to squeeze out all of the competition through making it illegal to offer those games and enforcing those laws by having ISPs block access to certain sites. The problem with this approach is that the laws are hard to enforce along typical means since the companies in question reside outside of an Australian jurisdiction. It can also be difficult to police all of the different foreign online casino sites out there since there are literally hundreds with more coming up every month.
A different approach is to set up the ability for these foreign companies to become licensed to operate games in Australia. This would allow the country a mechanism for generating revenue from the play with foreign operators, and some of this money could be used to fund problem gambling help and anti-underage gambling campaigns. The problem with this approach is that it can really irritate Australian companies who have most likely been lobbying for the former approach.
Elsewhere in the world, Canada is facing similar issues, so it's not like these problems are unique to Australia. In Canada, the provinces control the gambling with no federal regulations, but they are still running into the issue that most players would rather play with foreign operators that local ones. If Australia wants to learn something from the Canadian situation, it's that licensing foreign operators tends to be the best thing in terms of increasing revenue without alienating the player base.