8th Annual GRWA wraps up today in Sydney, one week after Senate passes IGA to outlaw internet betting.
As the yawning sun stretches its rays across the ocean to stroke the Sydney Opera House this a.m., a mass cluster of individuals and industry experts will be gathering within the expansive meeting space of the nearby 4.5-star Novotel on Darling Harbour. The topic of the day – betting Australia.
This marks the 8th annual rendition of the Gaming, Racing and Wagering Australia (GRWA) Summit, the most comprehensive gathering of land-based and internet betting industrialists on the continent. On this, the final day of the summit, August 16, numerous panels will discuss the landscape of wagering Down Under. Of utmost importance – the government’s decision to obliterate online casino and poker gaming.
Senate Strikes Out Internet Betting Australia
Last week, the government put the final nail in the coffin of internet betting in Australia. The Senate approved the Interactive Gambling Amendment Bill (IGA), effectively locking out online casino and poker operators.
The IGA requires all operators of online and mobile wagering outfits to secure a local licence before accepting Australian players. With online sports betting being the only legal, regulated and licencable activity in Australia, that leaves no room for operators of online poker or casino websites to exist.
Exactly 28 days after the Governor-General signs his name to the IGA, lowering the proverbial coffin into the ground, internet betting will come under official prohibition. No more online pokies. No more mobile blackjack, roulette, or video poker. No more Texas Hold’em tournaments on the virtual felt.
Unraveling the Madness at GRWA
None know better the importance of regulatory obedience than Martin Williams, editor of Gambling Compliance Asia. Mr. Williams will act as moderator at today’s opening discussion, hosting a panel of experts who hope to delineate the current situation in Australia’s wagering market. The goal is simple, yet oh-so complex – to predict the future of land-based and internet betting Australia.
Joining the panel will be a host of industry leaders and analysts. They include:
Michael Sarquis: Executive Director of The Office of Liquor and Gaming Regulation; Department of Justice and Attorney-General Queensland
David Edwards: Projects Chief Executive of Special Projects Unit of the Department of State Development Queensland
Sally Gainsbury: Deputy Director of The University of Sydney’s Gambling Treatment and Research Clinic
Anthony Seyfort: Partner with HWL Ebsworth Lawyers
Problems & Solutions for Land-Based Gambling
A second panel discussion will take place today revolving around the land-based gambling industry in Australia. The subject matter will include casinos and clubs across the nation, the challenges they face, and opportunities to overcome them.
The government’s decision to eliminate internet betting will certainly fall into the category of opportunities. With online poker out of the way, casinos can expect more players at the tables. With online and mobile pokies outlawed, clubs hope to draw more customers to the machines.
On the challenging side of the argument, these operations must find a way to attract millennials. Today’s youngest generation of potential gamblers prefer to facilitate as many daily activities as possible via mobile devices. The situation brings into question two distinct possibilities.
First, there’s the anticipation of GameCo bringing its skill-based gaming machines to Australia. Second, there’s the undeniable fact that black-market internet betting will flourish Down Under, as it has in the US since online gambling was outlawed there more than a decade ago.