Orwellian Gaming Measures Proposed in Australia

In 1949 George Orwell published his well known novel 1984 which tells about a society where every facet of human life is controlled by unseen bureaucrats. It would appear that some of Orwell’s predictions are coming true in Australia. Several anti online gambling extremists in Parliament are doing everything they can to thwart online gaming in Australia using Orwellian moves and legislation. Until recently senator Nick Xenophon has been the most vocal opponent of online gambling in Australia. Many see Xenophon as so anti gambling that he is almost a caricature of an anti gambling extremist.

The latest proposal from Xenophon would allow Australian gamblers at gaming websites to chargeback losses. Under Xenophon’s proposal Australian players at bingo sites, poker sites and online casinos would be able to use their credit cards to make deposits and if they don’t win they could do a chargeback on their credit cards. The proposal is designed to make Australia unattractive to online gaming companies. Xenophon has made no secret of his hatred of gambling in any form. Xenophon believes that gambling is ‘harmful’ to the people of Australia. Unfortunately Xenophon has considerable power and is the chairman of the gambling ‘reform’ committee. In an appalling statement to the Sydney Morning Herald Xenophon stated “With voided credit card bets, I have to say there’s something appealing to me about online casinos losing their shirts rather than the punters. It would certainly make online casinos think twice about accepting Australian cards.”

Current Australian law prohibits online gambling including online bingo sites, poker sites and online casinos. Despite the law there have been no prosecutions and Australians spend over one billion dollars every year at online gaming sites. Currently there are hundreds of websites that accept Australian players and Xenophon’s legislation is designed to cut the number of gaming sites willing to accept players from Australia and Tasmania.

Fortunately there are many rational lawmakers in the Australian parliament. Although Andrew Wilkie is no friend of online gaming he sees regulation as the solution. Willkie compared the current state of online gambling in Australia to the “Wild West” and has said there is “clearly a need to reform.” It should be patently obvious to any rational person that prohibition is not working and that Xenophon’s draconian measures will only create more problems. It can only be hoped that the forced of logic and reason prevail in the Australian parliament.

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