Washington, DC - Clubs Australia and the American Gaming Association (AGA) today united to call for a global approach to tackling the unregulated, unsafe and un-taxed illegal online gambling market. The two organizations also committed themselves to forming an international alliance on the issue, in which both parties will collaborate to raise awareness of the risks illicit gambling websites, and work on measures to prevent their spread.
It is estimated that US and Australian residents currently spend $4 billion and $1.2 billion respectively each year on illegal overseas gambling websites. Not only do these illegal websites deprive both Australian and US governments of tax revenue and employment, their operation greatly increases the risks of money laundering and terrorism financing.
“It’s well past time to take the threat of these illegal gambling operations seriously,” said Clubs Australia Executive Director Anthony Ball. “The proliferation of illegal online gambling is a scourge that needs to be tackled by governments world-wide, in association with legal and regulated gaming operators. Put simply, these sites are unethical and unsafe. There are no age verification checks, no harm-minimisation measures, and the revenue they generate goes to offshore tax havens – not back to the community.”
“There’s a clear difference between illegal operators and the licensed, regulated industry,” said Sara Rayme, senior vice president of public affairs. “Our partnership with Clubs Australia will help to shine a spotlight on shady outfits that don’t create jobs, contribute vital tax revenue, protect players or serve as strong community partners.”
As part of the international partnership, both organizations will work together to provide details of these illegal operations to governments in order to combat these illicit sites from their harmful operation. They will also call on their respective governments to increase dedicated resources toward such illegal gambling enterprises.
The partnership between AGA and Clubs Australia also forms part of the AGA’s “Stop Illegal Gambling – Play it Safe” initiative, which focuses on four key areas of illegal gambling: illegal sports betting; black market machines; Internet sweepstakes cafes; and illegal online betting.
· Americans and Australians spend an estimated $5.2 billion per annum on illegal, offshore gambling websites.
· Illegal gambling websites are unsafe and lack important harm-minimisation measures such as age verification and bans on credit betting.
· These websites increase money laundering and terrorism financing risks.
· The offshore nature of these illegal websites means jobs and tax revenue go overseas, rather than benefiting the communities of those spending money through them.
· Offshore, illegal gambling websites also lack consumer protections that are in place to safeguard patrons of regulated gambling operators, such as clubs and casinos.
About Clubs Australia: Clubs Australia represents the interests of more than 6,500 licensed clubs across Australia and New Zealand. Registered clubs are not-for-profit, member-based organizations that make a social and economic contribution of almost $10 billion across Australia each year. Clubs mobilize more than 250,000 community volunteers, employ more than 96,000 Australians and pay $2.4 billion in tax annually. Clubs also provide and maintain more than $20 billion worth of community assets.
About AGA: The American Gaming Association is the premier national trade group representing the $240 billion U.S. casino industry, which supports 1.7 million jobs in 40 states. AGA members include commercial and tribal casino operators, suppliers and other entities affiliated with the gaming industry. It is the mission of the AGA to be the single most effective champion of the industry, relentlessly protecting against harmful and often misinformed public policies, and paving a path for growth, innovation and reinvestment.