The Australian Government’s Crime and Safety Legislation Amendment (Online Gambling) Bill 2018 has been delayed in the House of Representatives, with Labor and the Greens threatening to disrupt the legislation and force a vote on the issue.
The bill is set to pass through the Senate this afternoon.
This morning the Government published a submission to the Joint Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs (JSCALA), which will consider the bill.
The submission stated that it was a “preliminary draft”, and that the Government was working with the crossbench and the Australian Medical Association (AMA) to “reinforce the evidence that gambling is a problem and needs to be addressed”.
The submission further stated that “a wide range of stakeholders, including the Australian Federal Police (AFP), the Australian Crime Commission (ACCC), the NSW Police Force, the Victorian Crime Commission, the Australian Institute of Criminology, the Queensland Police Force and the Commonwealth Crime Commission have raised concerns about the draft legislation”.
The submission states that the Australian Gaming Commission (AGC) “is working to strengthen the safeguards to protect Australians from online gambling” and that “the AGC is also working to improve the way online gambling is policed”.
“This draft legislation will be a crucial step in making Australia a safer place to gamble,” the submission states.
The AMA will also be attending the meeting.
Gambling is illegal in Australia under the Crimes Act 1901, which was passed in 1996.
In 2012 the Government introduced the Online Gambling Act 2016 which requires all businesses and gaming outlets in Australia to provide “online gambling services”.
This law also provides a $1,000 fine and up to six months imprisonment for anyone who “obtains or facilitates a gaming service”.
This is the second time in less than a year that the bill has been debated in the Australian Parliament.
Earlier this year, the Senate passed a version of the bill which included the same online gambling provisions, and was passed into law.
Read more about online gambling laws.
Posted by Michael Brookes