In early 2013, Australian gambling law is inside a state of flux, specifically offered that, 1st, it is a Federal election year, and secondly, the Federal legislation which prohibits online gambling remains beneath assessment. Offered these two elements, it is tricky to predict how or regardless of whether the law affecting online gambling will change in 2013.
The Interactive Gambling Act 2001 (Cth) (IGA), which prohibits the provision and advertisement of on-line gambling solutions (aside from wagering and lotteries solutions, save to a limited extent) to Australian residents, remains the subject of a assessment by the Department of Broadband, Communications and Digital Economy (the Division) (which is responsible for overseeing the IGA). While the Department published its Interim Report in May perhaps 2012, its final report has not been released.
Until the Department’s overview is completed, whether through the publication of a final report or otherwise, it will be tough for the recommendations contained in the Interim Report to receive any severe consideration from Australian lawmakers. These suggestions include proposals that the IGA be amended to liberalise on the net tournament poker for any 5 year trial period and that on the web in-play bets be permitted (topic to a prohibition on microbets).
Social Media Gaming
This can be one particular region on which we expect significant headlines this year. The legal position in Australia (which is recognised within the Interim Report) is that games which utilise virtual currency are not prohibited under the IGA since the IGA’s definition of “gambling service” is just not happy, on the basis that virtual currency is not able to be exchanged for real currency.
In early January 2013, anti-gambling politician, Senator Nick Xenophon, announced that he would introduce draft legislation for consideration by the Australian Parliament to amend the IGA to make sure that virtual currency games are prohibited. Senator Xenophon referred to Slotomania in his comments. Senator Xenophon’s indicated that his concern is, broadly speaking, that Slotomania and games like it are equivalent to electronic gaming machines and as a result normalise gambling to their players, who may be young children.
On the other hand, whilst this concern has been offered substantial publicity, it remains to be noticed no matter if any alterations will be produced to Australian law.
Sports Betting: New Entrants
Irrespective of irrespective of whether adjustments are produced in 2013 to the IGA to get rid of the prohibition on online in-play betting in relation to sports, it truly is most likely that the sports betting industry in Australia, which in 2012 saw the entry of bet365, will continue to develop.
It really is likely that other established offshore operators are considering entry in to the Australian market, either by looking for their very own licence and introducing their brand for the Australian industry, or by acquiring an existing operator. (Essentially the most current transform relates to the announcement from the proposed acquisition of Sportingbet (which also conducts business beneath the Centrebet brand) by William Hill.)
It is also probable that other gambling operators that operate in different gambling sectors may also be seeking to enter the on the net wagering space.
While the positive aspects in the Australian market place are clear, and also the most often-cited of those benefits are the regulated Australian market as well as a demographic renowned for its love of sport and racing, current and future competitors are going to be vying for marketplace share and profitability in an increasingly crowded industry. Also, difficulties is going to be faced resulting from the limited substantial marketing and advertising possibilities that remain as a result of recent high-profile exclusive sporting sponsorships entered into by regional wagering operators (see under).
Even though there has been an growing volume of media commentary (see “Sports and Sports Wagering” beneath) regarding the possible adverse consequences of the reported elevated advertising spend of Australian licensed wagering operators, handful of formal legislative measures have been enacted.
This concern was alluded to in a statement by the Prime Minister in January 2012 that, when the wagering sector didn’t self regulate to prohibit the promotion of reside odds in the course of sports coverage, the government would introduce legislation to this effect by June 2012. Wagering operators have given that, as an market, ceased promoting live odds for the duration of sports coverage.
There remains in depth media commentary which seeks further controls around the advertising undertaken by wagering operators. Because of this, we anticipate that further controls on the manner in which wagering is advertised are going to be introduced in 2013, regardless of whether by way of industry agreement or governmental regulation. Unless the government requires additional action in respect of marketing by wagering operators, and/or unless a recommendation in this respect is produced by the Department in its final report, we expect that this problem will continue to become regulated at the industry level.
Sports and Sports Wagering
The current sponsorship of Cricket Australia by bet365 (in place of Betfair), too as the recent announcement of Tom Waterhouse’s sponsorship with the NRL (in spot in the TAB), seem to have, possibly unsurprisingly, prompted considerable commentary through the Australian cricket season criticising the connection among, broadly speaking, sport and wagering operators.
Not just does this criticism target the promotion of wagering operators’ brands around the sports ground plus the broadcast of live odds through breaks, however it also focuses on the promotion and availability of “exotic bets”. Exotic bets include, one example is, inside a cricket match, a bet on the team that can win the toss. The argument normally made is that, in general terms, promotion with the availability of these bet varieties will normalise gambling, and, in distinct, youngsters will develop up considering that particular sports merely exist for the purpose of betting.
Provided the steady growth of expenditure on sports wagering (while expenditure on race wagering is in decline), wagering operators will continue to invest in their partnership with sports. This will no doubt attract criticism expressing concern at the interdependence amongst sports and gambling. Given that it can be an election year, it really is most likely that continued commentary on these troubles, in some cases for perceived political gain, will continue. On the other hand, it can be tricky to predict whether or not the government will intervene to introduce additional restrictions.
2013 will give rise to substantial press coverage in Australia relating to on the internet gambling, significantly of that will be damaging. However, there’s considerable doubt this will likely give rise to a significant legislative response.
The imminent Federal election will bring about the Department’s Interim Report and its recommendations to become the subject of public discussion, especially in the political level. Even so, regardless of the Interim Report demonstrating clearly the ineffectiveness of Australia’s regulatory position relating to on the internet gaming, the proximity of your Federal election is most likely to delay the consideration with the required legislative changes essential to implement these suggestions.