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Australia Will Clamp Down on Offshore Operators

Yesterday we reported on how a Tabcorp executive was asking the government to clamp down on offshore online betting operators. Today we are reporting that the Australian Federal and Victorian governments will attempt to do so.

The government announced that it was forming The Offshore Wagering Working Group, which will work to stop offshore betting firms from offering wagers to Australians. The group was announced by the country's Minister for Social Services Kevin Andrews as well as the Premier of Victoria and Minister for Racing Denis Napthine.

The group will work to try to come up with recommendations to help stop the offshore firms, which take in bets worth roughly $1.5 billion each year. Some of the measures expected to be recommended include ISP blocking, which has been criticized as being unfeasible as sites and punters often find ways to circumvent such attempts.

Kevin Andrews said such a clampdown is necessary for the country to keep firms already based in Australia from moving offshore and to keep their tax revenues in-country.

"There are already Australian-headquartered organisations that are operating in this way by basing their betting operations in unregulated international jurisdictions, including in the Pacific and Asia regions," Andrews said.

"[And] there are significant numbers of illegitimate offshore operators already targeting Australian racing and sport and it is vital that an effective regulatory regime be introduced to address the serious integrity and revenue risks that they pose."

As we reported yesterday, Tabcorp Chairwoman Paula Dwyer requested that the federal government take measures to curb these operators, saying that these groups put punters at risk. While player protection is important, these Australian groups have downplayed the amount of competition that these offshore groups present, which hurts their bottom line as they lose market share.

It is expected that the group will meet over the next several weeks, with the formation officially happening later this year. Any recommendations will be introduced to the government in 2015, with any actions taking place after that.

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