The federal government is introducing new laws to help curb illegal online gambling services based overseas.

As Australia battles a growing gambling epidemic that sees our addiction to pokies the worst in the world by a long shot, the last thing the government needs is yet another front to defend – but with nearly half a billion dollars being spent online every year it appears we’re in for a war of attrition

Fighting Problem Gambling Online

The rise in popularity of free facebook based social casino apps is certainly not helping the situation

Australians spend nearly half a billion dollars gambling online

A new bill put to parliament on Thursday makes it clear that only people or companies who hold a licence in Australia can offer its products to Australians.

It also prohibits “click to call” in-play betting and gives new powers to Australian Communications and Media Authority so they can enforce new civil penalties and be responsible for the entire complaint handling process.

“The combination of clearer legislation, stronger enforcement measures and awareness-raising activities will assist to ensure Australians are protected from these illegal gambling services,” Human Services Minister Alan Tudge said.

The draft laws follow a 2015 review led by former NSW premier Barry O’Farrell, which estimated up to $400 million was being spent on illegal offshore wagering.

What Next?

The Turnbull government in April accepted 18 of the report’s 19 recommendations, with this legislation the first of three stages.