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Thursday, 28 June 2018
Page: 4433

Senator GRIFF (South Australia) (20:13): There is a saying that Australians would bet on two flies crawling up the kitchen wall. A cursory glance at websites such as Sportsbet and bet365 would suggest that there is very much truth in that statement. You can bet on everything from who will win the Miles Franklin Award to the outcome of Australian Ninja Warrior. You can even bet on the by-elections, particularly the Mayo by-election—in which case, if I were anyone in this room, I would be supporting Rebekha Sharkie.

Senator Leyonhjelm: Insider trading!

Senator GRIFF: Yes, possibly insider trading too! Australians are, sadly, spoiled for choice when it comes to gambling, but society will not mourn the loss of synthetic lotteries such as Lottoland. For those who are not aware, Lottoland is not a lottery; it is a glorified bookmaker that bets on lottery outcomes. Lottoland is registered in Gibraltar and pays no income tax on the money it earns overseas. It also avoids paying any local taxes—like those Tatts pays, for instance. The Interactive Gambling Amendment Bill 2016 made it illegal for overseas gambling companies to offer gambling products in Australia unless they held a licence from a state or territory. Lottoland secured its licence through the Northern Territory, allowing it to reach most Australians. Thankfully, synthetic lotteries have been banned in my home state of South Australia, so it gives me great pleasure to support this bill, which will see that ban extended across the nation.

However, I am disappointed to see that the government has failed to implement the national consumer protection framework for online wagering. The framework was a recommendation of the 2016 O'Farrell review. In its response to the review, the government agreed that it would work with the states and territories to establish minimum standards for consumer protection, such as a national self-exclusion register for online wagering and enhanced staff training for gaming operators. But here we are two years later and no further along. The aim had been to release the framework for national consumer protection at the end of last year, with a staged rollout to follow over the coming year. Why has this momentum stalled? Where is the final framework? We would encourage the government to continue its recent work to try to minimise the impact from interactive gambling and advertising, and progress this framework before we lose more time and more people to the harm caused by gambling.