Online Gambling Concerns Australian Minister

Ironically, Macklin gave a speech about problem gambling at a land casino

Expressing great concern over the popularity of online gambling, Australian Federal Families Minister Jenny Macklin stated at a problem gambling conference this week that the federal government planns to discuss the rapidly growing pastime at a gathering of state and territory ministers in 2011. It can be considered ironical that he gave this speech precisely at a land casino on Australia's Gold Coast.

It was reported by the Courier-Mail newspaper that, according to new research results, Aussies will spend almost AUD1 billion on internet gambling this year, so ministers including Macklin are afraid it could turn into a problem just like in case of poker machines, which have spread so much that they can be found throughout the country.

Australia has a ban on internet gambling, except for sports betting and lottery, but a great number of its residents opt for overseas-based gambling sites to sidestep the ban.

The newspaper also quoted Dr Sally Gainsbury of Southern Cross University's Centre of Gambling Education and Research, whose opinion is that the worth of online gambling worldwide is estimated to grow from AUD21 billion in 2008 to AUD30 billion by 2012. She also added that player protection measures are scarce on "unregulated" websites.

Prior to this, earlier this year, the federal government rejected a recommendation of the Productivity Commission, which advised to lift a ban on internet gambling.

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