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Australia Expected to Pass Modified Internet Gambling Ban

19 June 2001

CANBERRA, Australia –- June 19, 2001 –- As reported by the Associated Press: "A plan to ban gambling over the Internet in Australia will likely be passed by Parliament this week after the government agreed Tuesday to water down the proposal to satisfy objections from the Senate.

"The government has agreed to exempt horse racing, sports betting and lotteries from the ban. The changes are expected to win over senators from minor parties who had opposed the bill.

"…The amendments follow intense negotiations over the past month by Communications Minister Senator Richard Alston, key senators and sections of the multi-billion dollar gambling industry.

"Alston said the proposed ban would still rule out casino-style games and let Australian companies set up interactive gambling overseas.

"…The Australian legislation will force local Internet service providers to filter out such sites if they are based in Australia.

"The initial bill announced by Prime Minister John Howard in March banned all gaming and betting services offered domestically over the Internet, through mobile phones and interactive television.

"…The Australian Casinos Association argues the new law will ban access by Australians to reputable and regulated gambling sites, but not stop them from accessing unregulated sites overseas that don't offer consumer protection."

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