Online Gambling Ban Sparks Revenue Fears

THE WA Government fears losing millions of dollars in revenue if the Federal Government succeeds in banning online gambling.

Senior WA public servant Petrice Judge said yesterday the ban would jeopardise the health of the WA racing industry, which would lose revenue earned through the TAB.

Mrs Judge, Department of Premier and Cabinet director of Federal affairs, said the Lotteries Commission would miss out on revenue from selling lottery tickets on the Internet – funds that could be used to boost grants to the community.

In a submission to a Senate inquiry into the proposed ban, Mrs Judge said the WA Government was disappointed the Bill intended to ban betting on horse racing and lotteries. They should be exempt.

The Federal Government has put forward a Bill to ban Australian gambling businesses from providing online and interactive service to people within Australia.

It includes all gaming, betting on sport, horse and dog racing, casino games and lotteries that are offered on the Internet, interactive television and mobile telephones.

The Bill is likely to win the crucial votes of Greens Senator Bob Brown and two Democrat senators if betting on horses and sport is exempt.

Mrs Judge said problem gambling was highest among users of poker machines and WA had resisted the temptation to allow pokies to spread outside the Burswood casino. “The Government would welcome a ban on interactive casino-style gaming because such a move would confirm its continuing opposition to the introduction of gaming machines,” Mrs Judge said.

“The inclusion of the TAB, bookmakers and lottery services in a permanent ban will not only impact consumers, service providers and revenues raised by these industries, but indirectly affect the wider community, jeopardising the health of the racing industry and funding of community projects by the lotteries industry.”

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