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Coalition Plans to Abolish the National Gambling Regulator in Australia

Posted at 09:15 2013-08-29 by Matthew Pitt

The 2013 Australian Federal Election takes place September 7 and it could see the end of the national gambling regulator, should the Coalition come into power.

Clubs Australia wrote to the Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd and Leader of the Opposition, Tony Abbot and asked them for details of how they plan to approach gambling related policy in the next parliament.

Labor said, “The Labor Government’s reforms set out a package to help problem gamblers and their families, including voluntary pre-commitment on poker machines and $250 daily ATM limits in gaming venues (excluding casinos). The Government has also listened to the concerns of industry and has extended the timeframes to implement pre-commitment, which will reduce costs. These reforms are designed to help reduce the harm caused by gaming machines, while minimising the impact on clubs.”

The Coalition says is will abolish the national gambling regulator and set up an advisory council comprising representatives of the gaming industry instead, a move that has pleased Clubs Australia. If you head to Clubs Australia, you can watch a video response from the Coalition.

Although the thought of an advisory council sounds like a good idea, the Liberal Party coming into power could spell the end of online poker in Australia. Earlier this month, The Liberal Party released a seven-page document entitled “The Coalition’s Policy to Help Problem Gamblers", and it is on the seventh page of this document that a clue is given into the Liberal Party’s thoughts on online poker.

“Labor’s approach to gambling policy is chaotic, ill-considered and contradictory.

“On the one hand, the Rudd-Gillard Government pursued a shceme to introduce draconian, unworkable mandatory pre-commitment for gaming machines; on the other, it planned to expose Australian to unprecedented access to online gambling by removing protections enshrined in the Howard Government’s Interactive Gambling Act.

“Labor’s review of the Interactive Gambling Act proposed removing restrictions on online poker, a proposal that would have turned every smart phone in Australia into a legal, handheld casino.”

That last paragraph should strike fear into the hearts of Australia’s online poker loving community because it sounds like The Liberal Party want to enforce the Interactive Gambling Act and ban online poker.

In recent weeks, the PokerStars Mobile App and the 888poker app were removed from the Australian Apple App Store – something the Greens pushed for – while earlier in the year Senator Nick Xenophon pushed for a blanket ban on all social casino games on the social network site, Facebook.

PokerNetwork will continue to monitor election news and report on the possible effects it could have on the online poker industry in Australia.

Lead image courtesy of IBISWorld.

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