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Online gambling review must have real byte

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For more information contact Jeremy Roberts on 0433 620 850 or Nick Xenophon on 0411 626 677

2 / 9 / 2015

ONLINE GAMBLING REVIEW MUST HAVE REAL BYTE • Bill to tackle online gambling addiction to be introduced in spring session

Independent Senator for South Australia, Nick Xenophon, has welcomed the Federal Government’s online gambling review, but has warned that its terms of reference “shouldn’t hold back on confronting the exponential increase of the problem and the measures needed to tackle it”.

The proposed review follows a Coalition commitment on May 31 2012, when the Opposition Leader Tony Abbott stood side-by-side with Senator Xenophon to oppose the Gillard Government’s plans to expand online gambling.

“Tony Abbott was spot-on when he referred to the ‘dark cave into which people can so easily retreat, and there they are beyond help’ with online gambling. This review needs to not only shine a light on these ‘dark places’ but propose measures to tackle the damage head on,” said Nick.

Senator Xenophon is currently drafting legislation to be introduced next month to reform the Interactive Gambling Act.

It follows a startling report recently released by the Financial Counselling Australia on the growing extent of the problem.

Senator Xenophon’s Bill will include provisions to:

• Ban credit gambling and inducements • Ban gambling ads to be broadcast during games • Restrict the ‘in play’ betting loophole and outlaw micro-event betting • Set up a national self-exclusion register for problem gamblers • Provide for family intervention orders - based on legislation in force in South Australia

The Bill will also seek to tackle illegal online gambling sites by providing mechanisms to disrupt their financial transactions.

"The Interactive Gambling Act is 14 years old - but it may as well be 140 years old. It needs to be revamped urgently to stem the next wave of gambling addiction in Australia - particularly among young men," said Nick.

It is estimated that close to $1 billion is lost on legal sports betting sites in Australia each year, with a similar amount lost on illegal sports betting and casino sites.