Media Release: Australian jobs and businesses can be boosted by cracking down on illegal offshore gambling.
The Australian Hotel Association (AHA) has welcomed the Federal Government’s review of illegal offshore gambling, saying that the widespread practice was costing Australian jobs and hurting legitimate Australian businesses.
The Government has estimated that there is up to $1 billion annual illegal offshore gambling, particularly targeting racing and other sports, and that, increasingly, Australian‐based organisations were attempting to avoid their legal obligations by shifting their operations offshore to unregulated international regions such as the Pacific and Asia.
The review is to be led by former NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell, and is scheduled to report by 18 December 2015.
The review will address the economic impacts of illegal offshore wagering. It will also look at regulatory regimes that could be implemented in Australia to tackle the issue and protect consumers from the negative social impacts caused by the illegal operations.
AHA National CEO Stephen Ferguson said that the hotel sector was very supportive of the Government’s review of illegal wagering.
“Australians like to bet on racing and sporting events and for every dollar spent on racing at pub tabs in Australian hotels, a percentage goes to both supporting the racing industry and to State Government coffers for use in funding schools, hospitals and public services. In contrast, illegal offshore operators pay zero to Australian governments, racing industries and other sports,” said Mr Ferguson.
Just as importantly, local pub tab operations create jobs and inject money into local communities.
“Australian pub tabs comply with Federal and State legislation including minimising the effects of problem gambling and the obligation to report suspicious activity. Illegal offshore gambling is conducted behind closed doors and provides no framework to identify problem gamblers.
Furthermore, there is no guarantee that anyone winning in an offshore operation will get paid.
“Illegal offshore wagering operators are a complete lose‐lose situation for Australia and has been long overdue for reform.
“The AHA commends the Government and Minister Scott Morrison for initiating this review.”