Online bingo is extremely popular in Australia. Players in the former British colony favor 90 ball bingo like their British counterparts. In Australia bingo is commonly known as ‘house’ or housie-housie.’ In addition to games at brick and mortar bingo halls online bingo is popular especially among those in rural areas with no easy access to bingo halls. In Australia online gambling is regulated by the government. Instead of raking a prohibitionist stance like the United States Australia has followed the example of .
Recent news reports indicate that the Commonwealth government is getting ready to implement new regulations that reflect the widespread popularity of online gaming. The federal government in Australia wants to make it mandatory for players to set deposit limits at gaming sites before playing any games for money. In addition to expanding pre-commitment rules the government wants stricter rules regulating the lines of credit and inducements that gaming sites can offer players. The proposed new rules are part of the government’s national harm minimization and consumer protection standards for licensed operators in Australia.
Communications Minister Stephen Conroy has written to state and territories to ask for their assistance in implementing the new rules and standards. In an official statement Conroy said “As the way Australians use gambling services shifts online, we need to ensure that protections for consumers remain robust and relevant.” The government will not be following the recommendations of a departmental review that would add changes to the trial of in-play sports betting and online poker tournaments.
The final report recommended that offshore gambling sites accepting wagers from Australia be licensed in the country and subject to the regulations and standards. The government said that licensed operators must adopt the country’s harm minimization measures. Australia has one of the highest gambling rates in the world and 80% of all adult Australians have engaged in some sort of gambling activity. Online gambling is a significant source of revenue for the government. Players are not taxed on their winnings but operators are taxed on player losses and net profits. The government also earns revenue from licensing fees.
A legal and regulated online gaming market benefits players and the government. Australian players know that if they play at a site licensed in the country they are protected from fraud, cheating and other bad behavior.