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As Moratorium draws to close, tension heats up

28 March 2001

Australian Communications Minister Richard Alston has publicly accused the Labor party of siding with the gambling industry, because it has rejected plans for a ban on Internet gambling. The Federal Government recently proposed to a ban, as the moratorium is due to end in May. Senator Alston told the Senate, Labor''s preference for regulations was not workable. Alston expressed strong sentiments regarding the issue. He questioned Labor’s motives: ”Why are they in bed with the gambling industry... why aren''t they putting Australian families first… Why aren''t they prepared to do something about a very serious social problem? Basically because the only policy they have is a casino in every home.” Meanwhile many companies have closed their doors or frozen investment as a result of the moratorium. Greg Farrell, managing director of the Federal Hotel group, stated that his group, like many other companies, had invested millions on its Internet site. “The Federal Government''s decision during this moratorium bill period, which has turned into a farce, has also cost the Tasmanian economy millions of dollars of investment,” said Farrell. “There was a number of companies prepared to invest substantial millions of dollars in establishing Internet gaming services in Tasmania, which would have brought with it not only investment but a number of skilled jobs.”

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