ISP’s could be illegally allowing betting on online video games

BENNET NICHOL

What are the defences against underaged online gambling? Source: Michael LastremskI.

Source: Michael Lastremski.

Australian Internet Service Providers (ISPs) may be illegally providing avenues for people to bet on video game competitions.

Increasingly popular international gaming competitions are used as platforms for online betting among many Australians, particularly underage adolescents.

A Victorian Department of Justice official, who spoke to The Source News on condition of anonymity, said that while it is not illegal for individuals to gamble online, it is illegal for Australian service providers to allow websites that facilitate the betting.

According to the commonwealth Interactive Gambling Act 2001, “Any game of chance, including games of mixed chance and skill played over the internet, is prohibited under the Interactive Gambling Act 2001 if it’s provided to someone who is physically in Australia.”

Peter Strasser, an avid gamer and regular viewer of public video game competitions, said there are no restrictions, age-gates or backdoor requirements for online betting on matches.

“I am almost certain there are not any age restrictions. I have never been queried for my age or date of birth. The websites are accessible to an Australian user without use of a VPN [Virtual Private Network],” Peter said.

“Occasionally a twitch stream will alert that it is for adults only, but it is just one click away from watching the stream anyway.”

Adolescent viewers use their parents’ credit cards to participate in online gambling and betting on video games, according to a report funded by the NSW Government’s Gambling Help service.

As part of the Parliamentary Joint Select Committee on Gambling Reform, independent federal MP Andrew Wilkie released a statement calling for increased reform of online gambling.

“The Government’s reliance largely on industry self-regulation… is a cop out,” Mr Wilkie said.

“[I have] repeatedly called on the Federal Government to take a leadership role in reducing the risk posed by online gambling.”

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