You gotta love the way they do things Down Under. I read this week that the Australians may be in the process of passing a bill that will allow gamblers to claim back any losses that they incur while betting at online sites. You’re reading this right – if you make a bet at an online casino using your credit card, and you lose while gambling, you’ll have the right, under the new law, to claim back those losses.
Nobody was surprised to read that the proposer of this law is none other than Senator Nick Xenophon, the politician who is synonymous with some of the most virulent anti-gambling policies in the country. Xenophon is always on the lookout to take down online gambling sites, and he introduced this new law with what I could only describe as pleasure. “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,” he was quoted as saying. “It would certainly make online casinos think twice about accepting Australian cards.”
The bill is scheduled to be tabled next month, but I wonder how far it will actually go in a county where the population certainly loves its punts and over $1 billion was wagered online last year alone.
But Xenophon is not one to give up easily, and he is already eyeing his next battle – against online gambling sites who may not be allowed to advertise through the Australian media, but get their ‘play-for-free’ subsidiaries to do so instead. These affiliated sites not only get to advertise on the airwaves, they also go as far as to sponsor sports teams and get their names on billboards and at sports grounds. Xenophon wants to have their ads restricted as well and see tougher gambling laws overall.
While there are laws that prohibit offshore gambling sites from offering their services, no operator has actually ever been prosecuted – a fact that must certainly make anti-gambling activists such as Senator Xenophon bristle with anger. Oh well.