Porter told The Australian newspaper that the review was an election commitment and, as a new minister, an early order of business for him.
“At this stage, it is anticipated the review will progress in line with the terms of reference already established under the leadership of former NSW premier Barry O’Farrell. The review addresses the government’s policy objective to investigate methods for strengthening protections against illegal online wagering operators and ensuring Australians are not exploited,” he said.
Porter’s predecessor, Scott Morrison announced the review three weeks ago (see previous InfoPowa reports) calling for recommendations from the review to be submitted to government by December 18, but critics have opined that this may be an ambitious timeline difficult of achievement.
Further complicating the issue are calls from interested parties to widen the scope of the review to include consumer protections across all forms of sports betting.
The Australian Hotels Association and Clubs Australia are the latest to wade in to the issue, calling for fresh and expanded terms of reference for the review. AHA chief executive Stephen Ferguson said he would seek a meeting with the new minister.
“The terms of reference specify wagering, not gaming, but there is a blanket call saying that anything else you want to submit on, please do. Our intention is to address gaming as well because we see the problems are basically the same in terms of levels of harm. We think expanding the review would be in line with what the government had said it would do, as part of its gambling review, at the election,” he told The Australian.
Clubs Australia executive director Anthony Ball observed that to be effective it was necessary for the review to examine the operation of illegal, offshore casino websites.
“These sites put roulette wheels, games of black jack and poker and slots on the mobile phones and iPads of Australians of all ages. They are basically unregulated, unsafe and untaxed. They contribute nothing of social or economic benefit to this country and have little or no harm-minimisation measures in place. The law makes it illegal for offshore companies to offer these online services to Australians, whether they be casinos or wagering sites, and it should be enforced,” he said.
Home-grown gambling group Tabcorp agreed, saying: “We believe unlicensed offshore operators should be prohibited from taking bets from Australian residents.”