On the internet today, one of the hottest trends is online gambling. Online casinos seem to be the biggest ticket items being produced by various companies today to scratch that itch. This even seems to be the case in Australia. But there’s a problem there. It’s not that there aren’t enough willing players who want to bet their hard earned money on Blackjack or Poker or some other game of chance it’s the fact that no one is clear on whether online gambling, or gaming as operators like to refer to it, is actually legal. Now you would think that question would be as black and white as night and day and it would be everywhere except in the land down under. In Australia gambling is apparently legal and illegal too.
About ten years ago, give or take, their Parliament passed a law that seemed to make online gaming illegal. Even so, Australians today can gamble to their heart’s delight in any online casino, poker, or other gambling site or casino with apparently no threat of legal action at all. So what gives?
What gives here is the wording in this piece of legislation passed by the Australian government. As the old saying goes the devil is always in the details and apparently no one was paying attention to the details when they passed this one. The Law was called the Interactive Gambling act and passed into law as the “Interactive Gambling Act 2001, Act No. 84 of 2001 as amended” The whole reason this thing was even contemplated was because of concerns being raised about the potential negative social effects of easy online gambling. Gambling can be extremely addictive as everyone knows and is even more dangerous to gambling addicts and problem gamblers. Here are horror stories about this type of behavior everywhere. This new law, however, “The Interactive Gambling Act” only targeted the operators of online casinos, and other gaming sites not the players. The IGA also made it illegal for individuals or firms to operate casinos or poker rooms but there was a grandfather clause that allowed existing Australian online casinos to continue their operations. There was even a clause that made it a crime to accept Australians in games played for real money on these casino sites. Now you would think that at least the last part of this legislation is pretty clear. But you would be wrong. The bottom line is absolutely no one seems to be enforcing this law strenuously. This, however, may be slowly changing.
At this very moment, online gambling in Australia is a red hot issue. There is much controversy raging in the Australian Parliament over online gambling in general. One of the issues being debated is government control and regulation over access to what they call poker machines. This is the term used in Australia for slot machines. There is also some heat coming down on at least one casino operator through Australia’s Gambling Act and that’s an online casino run by the Emu Group Ltd. There is, however, one big problem. No one can seem to be able to find out who is actually operating it and who actually owns it. Remember the law only prosecutes owners, not players. The individual the government has named as the owner has disavowed even knowing anything about it and has even spoken to local media stating he has nothing to do with the casino or its operation. It has also been reported that the Emu Casino was owned by an Australian Hairdresser named Jeff Muller. When confronted with this claim Mr. Muller stated that owning a casino was news to him and he denied the allegation. On further investigation, it was discovered that EMU inc. the casinos actual owner is incorporated in Panama a country known for its strict privacy laws. Further investigation uncovered that EMU Inc is also based in Malta and registered there as Emu Group Ltd. Malta is as strict Panama about privacy.