Australia's Social Services Minister Scott Morrison issued a statement regarding the federal government’s plan to initiate a review of the Interactive Gambling Act of 2001, which will be led by former New South Wales premier Barry O’Farrell.
"According to the Australian Institute of Family Studies (AIFS) online gambling is a A$1.6 billion dollar business in Australia with sixty percent of this revenue going offshore to more than 2, 000 sites beyond the reach of our regulators and tax collectors," said the statement.
"Unlike Australia's licensed operators, overseas agencies don't contribute product fees to racing and sporting bodies, do not comply with Australia's legal system and are not obligated to monitor and report suspicious betting activity.
"Illegal offshore wagering also leaves Australian punters without protection for payouts on their winnings."
The noted the large number of Australians that suffer from gambling addiction and the subpar regulation and taxation of offshore companies puts them further at risk.
There are currently 30 operators providing gambling services to Aussies illegally according to Morrison.
“For the vast majority of Australians, having a punt [has been] part of a recreational pastime for many generations and it’s part of who we are,” he told reporters in Canberra. But for 2 percent of the population gambling was a major problem, affecting their families, he said.
"More than 400,000 Australians, mainly men, have gambling problems," he claimed. "These issues can affect hundreds of thousands of Australian families and the children growing up in them.
"Problem gambling can also have a significant impact on social services and welfare spending such as income support payments, financial counselling and measures to address domestic violence.
"It is critical that we undertake a serious review of the impact of these illegal offshore operations on Australian consumers as well as our racing and sports industries and identify ways in which we can work to curb these impacts. It is especially important we look at what can be done to protect individuals vulnerable to problem gambling."