Economist Says Australians Play More

Added: February 19, 2015

That’s right. The English language newspaper that many consider to be the go to resource for financial, economic, political news and more from all over the world just released some data about the Australian gambling market. Are you ready for this one?

Incredibly or perhaps not so incredibly after all, Australia actually tops the list. That is, based on a per capita basis, adults in Australia gamble more than any other country in the world. In one sense this is fascinating. Just take a look at the facts. Remember the Internet Gambling Act of 2001 (IGA)? Recall that the IGA was put in place to quash online casino operators. This law specifically forbade the practice of offering real money bets to Australian residents.

Yet as many Australians have long since figured out, the IGA only addresses the online casino operators. In other words, since the law imposes no penalties or even restrictions on citizens accessing such sites the law has had little effect.

As the data from the Economist clearly shows gambling, and as of late, online gambling has become increasingly popular. What’s interesting is that both online lotteries as well as sports betting are perfectly within the bounds of current law as long as these activities are conducted in association with a brick and mortar or land based casino. Yet, to make matters even more confusing for the average Australian resident, sports betting does fall within the bounds of the IGA. Translation: as the IGA currently reads, sports betting is meticulously classified and defined as “interactive gambling” and consequently is absolutely prohibited.

Have you spotted the real problem here? For whatever reason or perhaps no reason at all it appears that Australian legislators are either unable or unwilling to even discuss the topic of online casinos and online gambling. Is this a case of the legislators merely acting like the Ostrich from childhood fairy tales?

Recall the tale of the ostrich who sticks her head in the sand because she didn’t want to believe what she was being told? The actions or more to the point the lack of action on the part of Australian legislators is certainly beginning to look like they are acting like Ostriches. That is to say if we ignore the problem it will go away.

Hmm, not so much. As the article in the Economist clearly illustrates, the residents of Australia like to gamble. Whether online casinos, online sports betting are prohibited or not does not seem to matter at all. Sounds like it is past time for the Australian government to wake up, take a good look around and see what their residents actually want and then provide a way to let them have it.