GOVERNMENT ON A LOSING STREAK BY FAILING TO SUPPORT ONLINE GAMBLING REFORM

21 March 2017

The Federal Government has failed to support Nick Xenophon Team amendments  to the Interactive Gambling Amendment Bill
and in turn, failed Australians when it comes to real gambling reform.

Senator Nick Xenophon moved two amendments, one to ban credit betting and another comprehensive amendment which would have inserted many of the measures in his Sports Betting Reform Bill, such as the establishment of a national regulator and a ban on gambling advertising during ‘G’ rated viewing times and sporting broadcasts, into the government’s bill.

Senator Skye Kakoschke-Moore also moved an amendment to ban the use of electronic devices such as tablets and smartphones for in-venue, in-play betting, which is permitted under the government’s bill.

The government failed to support the ban on credit betting, but the amendment did pass the Senate with the support of Labor, the Greens and other crossbenchers, and must now go back to the Lower House. All other amendments were rejected by the government.

“While the measures in the government’s bill were supported by the NXT, the bill failed to capitalise on an opportunity to really reform
online gambling in Australia,” Nick said. 

“Sensible and necessary amendments that would’ve seen a crackdown on the amount of gambling advertising on television – something Australians are calling for – and a clamp down on some of the most predatory features of online gambling sites should have been included in the government’s bill in the first place,” Nick said.

“Our amendments would minimise the harm caused by uncontrolled sports betting and have given problem gamblers more effective tools to manage their gambling. It is beyond disappointing that once again there has been a lack of political will by the major parties to help protect Australians."

Senator Kakoschke-Moore said the government’s move to expand betting activity by providing punters with tablets and smartphones in order to place in-venue inplay bets was “reckless and a backwards step”.

“When the loophole allowing in-venue in-play betting on electronic devices was revealed during the Committee Hearing into the IGA
Bill, I asked the Department of Communications what modelling it had done regarding the uptake of betting in venues due to the increased availability of devices – the answer was none,” she said.

“This will no doubt lead to an expansion in gambling activity which is unnecessary and once again harm minimisation strategies have been overlooked when it comes to problem gambling.”

The NXT called on the House of Representatives to agree to the amendment banning credit betting in light of its passage through the Senate and the fact credit betting exacerbates problem gambling or the risk of developing a gambling problem. 

Senator Xenophon’s Interactive Gambling Amendment (Sports Betting Reform) Bill 2015 is currently subject to a Senate Inquiry which is due to report on 29 March 2017.

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