Gambling Policy and Regulation in Australia
Gambling is big business anywhere in the world. Casinos, lotteries and the various gambling venues bring a lot of money, in terms of taxes and fees. On the other hand, gambling also brings a lot of problems to those who become addicted.
Let’s have a look at gambling regulations in Australia and what the central and local governments can do to make sure people don’t end up suffering because of their passion for gambling.
Gambling regulations in Australia
In Australia, it is the individual states who are responsible for drafting their gambling regulations. This makes sense since they know best what is the situation in their territory.
However, in the past couple of decades there’s been a tremendous increase in online gambling options and since they’re not on the physical territory of any Australian state, this makes regulating this type of business quite difficult.
In 2001, the Commonwealth had to intervene to put a stop to the proliferation of online gambling opportunities available to the Australian public.
The Interactive Gambling Bill of 2001 prohibits interactive online gambling sites from offering their services to Australian residents. The same law bans advertising for such gambling sites and establishes a complaints’ mechanism to deal with the platforms found to be breaking the law and trying to lure Australia-based users.
Gambling per se can be a fun activity, but only when people engage in it in a responsible manner. Just as with drinking, a little is fun, but too much can lead to very serious problems.
The trouble with gaming is that it is addictive and people tend to spend increasing amounts of money in the hope of finally winning and recovering their losses. This rarely happens. Most people understand the risks, but those who become addicted will probably bet their house and their car on the slim chance of making a profit.
Why is this a national concern? The problem is that losing huge sums of money on gambling sites is not only the gambler’s problem. Many of those who lose money on their gambling habit end up resorting to crime to finance their expensive addiction and this is a problem for the whole society.
People stealing money, embezzling company funds or getting involved with crime organizations are a danger to society. When they get caught, they are sent to prison, on taxpayers’ money. When they get out, they are virtually unemployable because of their criminal record.
What responsible HR manager would hire an applicant when a quick Australian background check reveals they were imprisoned for stealing money to finance their gambling habit? This leaves such people with little choice than to engage in other illegal activities and even try gambling again, hoping this time they will hit the jackpot.
Rather than punish the individual, restricting gambling activities is the better choice and this is why the Commonwealth of Australia felt the need to intervene and put a stop to interactive online gambling.
At the same time, state authorities are encouraged to use part of their legal gambling revenue for educational programs about the dangers associated with such activities.