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Australian pokie machine manufacturer warns government on over-regulation

The Australian federal government, which has turned its face against internet gambling, has been warned the nation's biggest pokie machine (Australian term for slot machines) manufacturer that any over-regulation of gambling could persuade Aussies to switch to offshore internet sites.

For the last decade online gambling has been banned by the government, although that has not stopped the country's residents from taking their wagers to offshore internet gambling sites.

Australia, at one time highly regarded as a country with the most progressive approach towards online gambling regulation, changed direction years ago in favour of a prohibitionary approach, and the government has since ignored recommendations from its Productivity Commission to consider regulation instead of bans.

The Australian Broadcasting Corporation reported the warning on over-regulation in gambling by the Australian Leisure and Hospitality (ALH) group, which told a federal parliamentary inquiry that it will be impossible to wipe out problem gambling.

The company's spokesman, David Curry, said cracking down on one form of gambling will only encourage people to try other things.

"There is a wide internet opportunity out there for people," he said. "If you over-regulate one part of the business, then people will simply shift and that would be the unintended consequence."

Regulation in Australia has become "highly politicised," Curry warned.

Acknowledged anti-gambling hard-liner Senator Nick Xenophon responded by saying that the ALH comments were a smokescreen, and that the company either does not understand the problem or does not wish to do so.

"This shows either a willful ignorance or a disingenuousness," he said, accusing the company of a lack of will to effectively tackle problem gambling.

Source: InfoPowa News

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