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Australia Review

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Gambling in Australia

INTRODUCTION

Australia has strict laws governing gambling but this notwithstanding, the country is among the highest rating in the world with the biggest population participating in gambling-related activities. Adults in Australia have participated in gambling at least once in their lifetime. The government collects about 10% of its annual revenue from gambling and betting related activities and this goes to show that gambling business in Australia is a really big deal. Gamblinglegislation in Australia is twofold, commonwealth laws that basically govern the entire country and state laws which are gambling legislation for all the 7 provinces. Apart from gambling regulations and legislation, the Australian government has set up gambling control agencies that are authorized to protect gamblers from exploitation by betting companies.

Australian Gambling Legislations and Regulations.

The main piece of legislation that gives stipulation on gambling and betting in Australia under the Australian Capital Territory is the Betting (ACTTAB limited) Act of 1964. Other recent legislation includes the Casino Control Act 2006, the Gaming Machine Act 2004, Race and Sports Bookmaking Act 2001 and the Interactive Gambling Act of 1998.Gambling legislation has also been enacted to govern betting and gambling in regional and provincial levels. For instance;1. New South WalesThe region enacted the Betting Tax Act 2001, the Casino Control Act 1992, the Liquor Act 2007, the Gaming Machines Tax Act 2001, the Gambling (two-up) Act 1998, Charitable Fundraising Act 1991, the Gaming and Liquor Administration Act 2007 and the Lotteries and Art Unions Act 1901 among other relevant legislation for racing betting activities and the Unlawful Gambling Act 1998.2. Queensland This region is governed by these betting, lottery and gambling legislation and more others, the Brisbane Casino Agreement Act 1992, Interactive Gambling (player protection) Act 1998, the Keno Act 1996, the Lotteries Act 1997, the Gaming Machine Act 1991 and the Wagering Act 1998.3. Western AustraliaThe gambling regulations and legislation here include the Racing Bets Levy Act 2009, the Betting Control Act 1954, the Casino Control Act 1984, the Gaming and Wagering Commission Act 1987, the Racing and Wagering Western Australia Act 2003, the Casino (Burswood Island) Agreement Act 1985 among other similar lottery, gambling and betting regulations.4. Northern TerritoryThe legislation includes the Racing and Betting Act 2004, the Unlawful Betting Act 2004, the Gaming Machine Act 2005, the Gaming Control Act, the Soccer Football Pools Act 2004 and theNorthern Territory Licensing Commission Act 2001.1

Gambling in Australia5. VictoriaThe Gambling Regulation Act 2003, the Casino Control Act and the Casino (management agreement) Act 19936. TasmaniaGambling is regulated by the Gambling Control Act of 1993 and the TT-Line Gaming Act 1993.Besides the available gambling and betting legislation, there are authorities and agencies that have been given authority to regulate gambling in the country. One such authority is the Australian Capital Territory-ACT Gambling Authority Racing Commission which is the national government gambling regulatory agency. However, each state has an established gambling authority to regulate gambling in its region.Online gambling in AustraliaAs already pointed out, gambling, betting and many other forms of lottery activity are widely practiced in Australia. The emergence of new technology and especially the availability of smartphones which have access to the internet make online betting and gambling easier for manypeople throughout Australia. It is fascinating to note that Australian online gamblers spent about 800 dollars on online gambling and betting activities. The government acknowledges that new technology is taking over the land built casinos and for this reason, other regulations to govern the new emergence of online gambling and betting. The Interactive Gambling Act of 2001 was enacted to specifically to protect online gamblers from any form of exploitation from the online gambling and betting companies. The Act does notmake it illegal for online gamblers to access and use the interactive gambling/lottery/betting services on offer. However, the Act made it an offense for the online gambling, betting and lottery companies to intentionally supply an interactive gambling/lottery/betting services to customers in Australia. It is also unlawful under the Act for online gambling companies to intentionally provide an Australian based interactive gambling service to customers present in a foreign country that the minister has declared to be a designated country. The Act further prohibits any form of advertising of interactive gambling/lottery/betting services.However, this restrictions do not apply on telephone betting services and wagering services which could include but are not limited to horse race betting and sports events where gamblers place bet predictions before the game starts or during the game but before the final score.In correspondence with the Act, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) is the agency where aggrieved online gamblers can file their complaints (any grievances about the unlawful online gambling and betting conduct) against online betting and gambling companies. It is the responsibility of the ABC too, upon receiving any complaint against an online gambling company, to investigate the allegations and where it is proved that the online gambling company is based in Australia and has violated the law, it shall refer the complaint to the Australian police force. 2

Gambling in AustraliaIt is also important to note that online poker, where real money services are offered by the gambling operator is illegal in Australia.Australian gambling tax laws.The government of Australia collects huge revenues from gambling and betting related activities annually. However, the government through relevant legislation prohibits the taxation of gamblers winnings mainly because, in Australia, gambling, betting or participating in any form of the lottery does not constitute to as making a profession. The government sees gambling as forms of hobbies and recreational activities which cannot be levied. The government argues further that gambling earnings are not a salary or earnings/profits from a business but rather as good luck earnings since betting and gambling are sports of chance. As such these earnings cannot be taxed.However, to compensate for this and collect revenue from gambling and betting, the government imposes huge taxes on gambling and betting companies. These taxes include the operation license that a company is required to pay for before they start a business, turnover levies, net profit taxes as well as taxes charged on player loss gains. Tax rates differ from state to state sincedifferent states have their own taxation legislation and regulations for gambling and betting activities in their jurisdiction.


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