Brisbane, Dec 21 (Asia Pulse) - One of Australia's largest on-line gaming
operators has hit back at Prime Minister John Howard's suggestion of a possible
ban on Internet gambling. Jupiters Ltd, which operates two casinos and the
electronic game Kenoin Queensland, has called on federal, state and territory
governments to be "measured in their response" to Howard's call to
investigate the feasibility of a ban on Internet gambling.
In November last year Jupiters acquired Alice Springs-based sports betting
agency Centrebet which operates on-line and telephone gambling services. "Centrebet's
experience is that Internet sports betting is not a source of problem
gambling," Jupiters managing director Richard Barnes said today. He urged
governments to continue to regulate rather than prohibit what is one of
Australia's leading e-commerce opportunities. Howard last week ordered a
ministerial council to investigate banning gambling over the Internet after the
release of a report on Australia's $11 billion-a-year gambling habits.
Centrebet sports manager Gerard Daffy said, like the rest of the gambling
industry, Centrebet recognised that problem gambling was a serious issue.
"Governments and the industry are already working closely together to
address this issue and we are pleased to be part of that process," Daffy
said. He said that to Centrebet's knowledge there had been no instances of
problem gambling amongst its client base in the past eight years. "Most of
our customers appear to be the type of people who in Australia would go to a TAB
once a week for a flutter... they are not large gamblers," he said.
Centrebet has more than 30,000 customer accounts with 70 per cent of business
emanating from overseas. Daffy said Centrebet was believed to be Australia's
leading e-commerce exporter and Australia was leading the world in the
regulation of Internet gambling. "It would be a shame if Australia
abrogated its role as the leading country in the regulation of Internet gaming
in favor of prohibition," Daffy said. He said banning Internet gambling in
Australia would be a backward step as the government would lose the ability to
regulate the operators and lose an increasing source of tax-revenues.
Centrebet believes that, far from banning internet gambling, governments
should recognise the inevitability of e-commerce as a way of the future and
acknowlege the leading position of Australia as a provider of regulated Internet
gambling. "Australian operators already adopt world's best practice
procedures for dealing with problem gambling, and gambling by minors,"
He welcomed Howard's concept of a Ministerial Council and an Expert Advisory
Group made up of industry representatives to work with governments to address