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Aussie Punters Rushing Online

4 April, 2009,  Peter Bowman, Staff writer

In 2000, the Australian government became one of the first countries in the world to enact online gambling specific legislation.  In an effort to protect the local thriving terrestrial gambling industry from offshore operators from stealing Aussie punters, the Government passed the "Interactive Gambling Act 2000". 

The Act made it illegal for any interactive gambling service provider based outside Australia (including online casinos, sportsbooks, race betting sites, lotteries etc) to offer its product to Australian  residents

Of course, at the time the legislation was passed, debate raged as to whether authorities could effectively police the law.  After all, the operators whom the law targeted were outside the jurisdiction of the Australian courts, and any burden placed on ISP's to block online gambling operators would be difficult to impose.

Nevertheless, in an effort to assess the effectiveness of their law, the Government commissioned a survey into online gambling attitudes and subsequently released a report that concluded "These points suggest that currently involvement in internet gambling is only minimal and not likely to increase rapidly in the near feature," the government report concluded.  Monitoring of online gambling attitudes and habits continued and as late as 2004 the official line was that the gambling ban had effectively muted local appetite for online gambling services provided by offshore forms.

Today the reality is very different.  It is estimated the number of Australians playing online, primarily in poker rooms, has surged to the hundreds of thousands and growing. 

This explosive growth has been attributed to a number of factors including Australian's legendary propensity to gamble, growing awareness of the online poker / casino availability through promotion of these services via mainstream mediums such as WPT player sponsorship, and availability of broadband services.

It seems the dam wall that was being optimistically plugged has well and truly burst.






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