Online gaming attacked

A church-based organisation and a gaming operator are forming an unlikely team to combat foreign betting exchanges.However, welfare organisation Wesley Gambling and Financial Counselling Services and TAB Limited have been calling on the government to correct what seems to be a "loophole" in the Interactive Gambling Act which allows foreign betting exchanges to offer services here.

A church-based organisation and a gaming operator are forming an unlikely team to combat foreign betting exchanges.

However, welfare organisation Wesley Gambling and Financial Counselling Services and TAB Limited have been calling on the government to correct what seems to be a "loophole" in the Interactive Gambling Act which allows foreign betting exchanges to offer services here.

Public submissions for a review of the Act ended April 22 last year with TAB Limited and other institutions sending out their suggestions for change.

Wesley Gambling and Financial Counselling Services manager Chester Carter believes that online gambling will only triple the 330,000 gamblers in Australia, as reported by the Productivity Commission in 1999.

"With another betting avenue coming into Australia, it would grab the limited gambling dollar families are spending on poker machines and others. If you allow another avenue for gambling, the number will triple. What gives online gambling power is the secrecy of it," Carter said.

Carter added that he sent a letter to the office of Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts Daryl Williams but has not received a reply.

The minister's office said the review is being finalised and will be released to the public "shortly."

A spokesman for TAB Limited has reportedly said that if the states went ahead and issued licenses for foreign exchange operators, they will have no option but to join in the queue.

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