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Australia: parliamentary committee starts an inquiry into online gambling and its relationship with problem gambling

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The House of Representatives Standing Committee on Social Policy and Legal Affairs has launched Friday an inquiry into online gambling and its impacts on people with gambling problems.

The Committee is seeking written submissions from individuals and organizations providing recommendations relating to any or all of the inquiry terms of reference by November 11. 

According to the chair of the Committee, Peta Murphy MP, the inquiry will be a “fresh look” at online gambling and whether current laws, regulations, consumer protections and education and support programs are enough to reduce harm to gamblers. 

“The Committee is concerned about the increasing reach of online gambling platforms into Australians’ lives, the exposure of children and young people to gambling advertising and how this may contribute to increases in problem gambling in the future”, she explained. 

Submissions can be published anonymously if requested and, according to Murphy, those who decide to contribute with their testimonies can ask for their submission to be received confidentially and not be published by the Committee. 

The Committee will examine the effectiveness of existing consumer protections aimed at reducing online problem gambling; how to better target programs to address online problem gambling; current counseling and support services; the quality of access to education programs; the impact of regulatory and licensing regimes regarding harm minimization and consumer protection efforts; and more. 

It will also examine the appropriateness of the definition of “gambling service” in the Interactive Act 2001, and whether it should be amended to capture additional gambling-like activities, such as simulated gambling in video games like loot boxes and social caisno games. 

The effectiveness of current gambling regulation in light of emerging technologies, payment options and products will also be under the magnifying glass, as well as the protections against illegal online gambling services, and gambling advertising restrictions. 

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