Nick Xenophon has spent the last couple of years pushing for stronger regulations in the Australian gaming industry. Xenophon has made no secret of his desire to rid the country of gambling completely, although he has had a hard time convincing his fellow lawmakers to eliminate the big revenue-maker.
Now comes a report that Australians have used PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker, two of the largest online poker sites in the world, and two sites that were frequently targeted in a US Department of Justice crackdown.
The report has Xenophon again looking to go after anyone involved with allowing the illegal gambling, and on his hit list this week was the Australian Federal Police. Xenophon claims the AFP has not been aggressive enough in going after the illegal online gambling.
“There could be a hidden epidemic of problem gambling from online gambling that we just don’t know about,” said Xenophon. He went on to claim that the law enforcement officials are to blame for not moving quickly to defuse the potential problem.
Xenophon’s stance is not one that is shared by many lawmakers. In most cases, lawmakers are looking to join other nations such as France, Germany, Italy, and Spain, in creating a regulated system of Internet gambling. Xenophon is strongly opposed to any such regulations, and it could cause a showdown amongst lawmakers in the coming years.
The Australian government has been attempting to slow problem gambling at a land-based level. The government is pushing legislation that would require casinos to install technology that would force gamblers to set betting limits before they played slot machines. The casinos are seeking to have that be an option, instead of a requirement.
Another potential problem in Australia is sports betting. Sports leagues have called on the government to create laws making it a felony to be involved with any type of sports cheating associated with gambling. Sports betting is a big business, not only in Australia, but around the world, becoming a billion dollar industry over the past decade.