Analyst Claims Online Casinos Have No Chance in Australia

Image of online casinos

Australians have been hoping for some change in the legal landscape surrounding online gambling for years now. Some feel that change is around the corner.  Others believe that the government is looking to continue with the status quo. According to the Director of The Agenda Group, the odds are slim that online casinos will become legal anytime soon in Australia.

According to a recent panel at SBC Summit Barcelona – Digital, the government has little desire to change the current state of online gambling. Frankly, there’s not enough of an incentive for them to take action.

Cohen Says Australia Has Almost No Chance Of Legalizing Online Casinos

The SBC Summit Barcelona – Digital recently held a panel covering Australia’s online gambling restrictions. The panel entitled “Australia – Pushing Back on Restrictions” took a look at the present legal status of online gambling in the country. Also, they discussed the chances of those restrictions being changed.

Peter Cohen, the Director of The Agenda Group, was one of the panel members and his opinions paint a bleak future for those hoping for legislative change. According to Cohen, there are several factors behind why a change in laws is not forthcoming.

Peter Cohen

For starters, he believes that there is a bit of an oversaturation of gambling in Australia. According to Cohen, “Everyone in Australia has access to either a casino because they live in the big cities or to the slot venues which are distributed right across the country…But the rest of the country has access to gambling when and where they want. So I don’t really think there’s a huge push from the wider community for online casino-style games. They’ve got plenty of access to gambling already.”

Cohen also stated that he didn’t believe the brick and mortar industry will push for legalization either because pokie houses and other casinos rather have people coming in to gamble.

Not Enough Incentive for Government

Cohen later spoke about a point that has been argued at length regarding online gambling. He says that the “federal government also isn’t going to amend its Interactive Gambling Act to allow online casino games – largely because they won’t get any revenue from lifting the ban.” As Cohen explains, revenue is directed toward individual states and the government has no incentive to push for online casino gambling.

Cohen believes that a lift on the online casino ban has no chance of happening. His points regarding state revenue reflect what’s happening in the United States. Legal online gambling happens at the state level, with tax revenues going to the state. As such, Congress has not made a significant push to legalize online gambling to this point.

Will the Pandemic Change Mindsets?

One thing not really discussed by Cohen or others during this panel was the impact of the pandemic on attitudes towards online gambling. The ban on legal online gambling in Australia handcuffed state casinos and prevented them from making money during lockdowns.

It is well known that online gambling went up 67% during lockdowns and continues to stay at a high rate. With the chances of future lockdowns likely, one would think that casinos would pressure the government to give them the tools necessary to make money and stay in business. Online gambling would give casinos a bit of a cushion against losses during a future pandemic or disaster. It is understandable that the government might balk at legalizing online gambling under normal conditions. The last year has been anything but normal. Also, it may be years before things return to “normal.” As such, the government should reconsider its stance.