Research indicates that almost 130,000 Australians play online poker games as American operators earn $68 million year.
Online gambling is illegal in Australia; however the federal government is leaning toward the legalization of online poker. With this plan, the remaining casino games would continue to be restricted as online poker is tested.
Senator Xenophon said that the legalization of online gambling would contribute to the increase of problem gamblers.
”If online poker was given the seal of approval there would be an explosion in its use and with it all the associated issues of problem gambling,” he said.
Monash University public health expert, Charles Livingstone commented on figures brought forth from a Dr. Ingo Fiedler from the University of Hamburg. In Livingstones opinion, the figures regarding the volume of players in Australia were not surprising and may actually be a bit low in comparison to actual online gamblers.
”In any event, the data held by the University of Hamburg’s database is undoubtedly useful, but probably not as a source of overall prevalence or expenditure figures,” Dr Livingstone said.
He also says that research indicates that a large number of online poker players wagered small stakes and experienced moderate wins or losses. Approximately $12 billion is likely spent on poker machines annually.
”Liberalisation of online gambling is feasible and should start, as the PC suggested, with liberalisation of online poker, but not before serious and nationally consistent harm-minimisation measures are properly regulated by the federal government, not the states,” Dr Livingstone said.