EU And Australia Determined To Ban Online Gambling
Legislation of online gambling continues to make news. A few countries have shown tremendous firmness in going ahead with the decision, in spite of protests from various groups within and outside the country. However, a majority of the countries are still sitting on the fence, not wanting to disturb the status quo.
The latest reports coming from Europe indicate that the European Court of Justice has reaffirmed that countries within the European Union have the right to ban online gambling. The immediate reason for this ruling is because of the case of an editor and publisher of a Swedish newspaper which advertised online gambling in its publications.
Swedish legislation has banned the promotion and advertisement of online gambling run by private operators on the Internet. Based on this law, Sweden had prosecuted the editor and publisher of the newspaper for the act and slapped a fine of 50,000 Swedish crowns on the newspaper. The Court has ruled that the Swedish law of banning advertisement and promotion of online gambling by private parties in other member states with intent to make illegal profit is consistent with Community Law.
The Court also observed that Swedish authorities cannot set discriminatory consequences for violations of the country’s lottery laws. The European Union feels that foreign gambling industry is becoming a huge threat to domestic gambling monopolies and their proliferation need to be arrested. Their concern in trying to break down the foreign online gambling industry is driven by the necessity to protect domestic operators’ interests.
In its ruling, the courts had stated that national bans are acceptable on cultural, moral and religious grounds. In its defense the European Gaming and Betting Association has said that legal rulings can not address the issues like problem gambling. The online gambling industry has to be viewed on a wider perspective given its galloping popularity. They are pleading for recognition as the online gambling business reaches new heights of popularity and public patronage in Europe.
Meanwhile, the Australian government has once again resolved not to lift its ban on online gambling. Australia passed the Interactive Gambling Act of 2001 because its citizens felt that social welfare was being seriously affected as more and more people were drawn to this form of betting. They were also skeptical about the effectiveness of technology in regulating online gambling and reduce its negative impact on the society.
However, the Productivity Commission recently advised the Australian Government to reduce the severity of the ban on online poker. It in fact, even advised the authorities to lift the law against the online gambling industry. It stated that the Australian Government should repeal the Interactive Gambling Act and initiate a process for the managed liberalization of online gaming in consultation with the state and territory Governments.
As expected, the authorities have refused to see sense in the recommendations of the Productivity Community and flatly refused to repeal the act while planning to initiate even stricter measures against online gambling industry. At the very least, the current legislations would continue to be in force. The Government is not convinced that liberalizing online gaming would benefit the Australian community in any way.