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Australian Government Looks to Regulate Online Gaming

15 June 1997

The Australian State and Territory Gaming Ministers agreed to release a discussion paper detailing proposals to regulate interactive home gaming across Australia.

The report has been prepared by a special working group of State gaming officials and follows a meeting in May last year [1996] at which Ministers agreed to look at developing a regulatory model for all vehicles of interactive gaming, such as Internet and Pay TV gaming.

Speaking on behalf of State Gaming Ministers following a meeting on the issue in Melbourne today, the Victorian Minister of Gaming, Mr. Roger Hallam, said the report was recognition that interactive gaming was an emerging growth industry and as such required proper and effective regulation.

"The rapid advance in telecommunications has meant that interactive gaming has already emerged and will continue to grow as an industry," Mr. Hallam said.

The reality is that developing technologies wills see increasingly more people having free access to interstate and overseas interactive gaming products in a way that States under existing regulations will have little or no control..

"Therefore, the challenge for State gaming regulators is to address the range of social and economic issues that are emerging from this form of gaming."

Mr. Hallam said the report proposed that interactive home gaming be subject to strict licensing and regulatory conditions rather than attempt to enforce an unrealistic and unworkable form of blanket prohibition.

He said the report also recognised that an effective regulatory model was dependent on a national approach.

The Report deals with a number of issues including:

  • a strict State-based licensing and inspection scheme to regulate interactive gaming products across Australia;
  • limiting access to interactive gaming services to people 18 and over;
  • banning credit gaming for interactive home gaming;
  • developing an advertising code of conduct and;
  • provisions to address problem gambling;

Mr. Hallam stressed that Ministers had not taken any formal position on any part of the reports discussion points.

Rather, States and Territories were being asked to finalise their positions on the report by September 30Th 1997 following a period of community and industry consultation.

"The report is only one set of options" Mr. Hallam said. "Before we take these proposals any further, all States and Territories will be seeking feedback from the public and industry representatives".

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