South Australia to call for tougher protection against online gambling

South Australia’s Minister for Consumer and Business Services John Rau said he would call Friday for more decisive action to be taken to prevent harm from online gambling, saying current proposals are “cosmetic and inadequate.”

State and Federal Ministers are meeting in Melbourne to draw up a National Consumer Protection Framework For Online Wagering.

In a press release, the South Australian Government said it will call on ministers to disrupt or eliminate offshore gambling operators; prohibit any advertising before during and after sports events; prohibit inducements to participate in online gambling and introduce mandatory ID verification prior to being allowed to open an account.

It also wants to prohibit links between on and offshore online gambling operators and payday lenders and to boost mandatory warnings during sporting events among other measures. It will also call for an increase in penalties for violations.

“Online gambling is a growing social menace. Cosmetic change is not enough. Purveyors of online gambling are about the “normalisation” of gambling. Children are a significant target of this grooming behaviour,” Rau said in the release.

“The predatory practice of using inducements and incentives to promote gambling is a cynical exploitation of children and the vulnerable.”

Online gambling in Australia is thought to be growing at about 17 percent a year, with figures showing 70 percent of teenagers under 18 have gambled at least once in the past year.

The release said it’s estimated that Australians account for 5 percent of the global online gambling market.