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Australian Senator Proposes Alternative to Government's Moratorium on Online Gambling

31 August 2000

MELBOURNE, Australia – (Press Release) -- Australian Democrats Deputy Leader Senator Natasha Stott Despoja unveiled today the solution to the Government's ineffective Internet moratorium.

"The Bill does not protect Australians from a casino in every lounge room and it does not address the real issue of problem gambling. The Government has once again failed to understand how the Internet works," said Senator Stott Despoja.

"The Government's objective is to investigate the feasibility of a ban on Australian Internet gambling. The online services debate and the Senate 'NetBets' inquiry has shown that a ban is not effective.

"The Government's approach to Internet gambling will not protect Australians, but it does provide an opportunity to address a social issue pressing to the Australian community.

"The question of what to do about increased access to gaming services is valid and I am pleased to say that the Democrats today can offer an effective solution. It is possible to achieve both technologically savvy and socially responsible regulation for online gaming services."

The Australian Democrats support a three-month non-retrospective moratorium to enable the States to establish a minimum uniform set of national regulatory principles for interactive gaming in Australia.

The moratorium will be effective to:

- all new licences from the commencement of the moratorium and existing licences upon renewal

- all wagering and gaming services.

Should the States not agree within the moratorium period the Federal Minister may enforce what is deemed a minimum uniform set of principles by the majority of the States. This agreement should include a national public education campaign on the Australian regulation and harm minimisation of Internet gambling.

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