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21 February 2010

Illegal poker websites could bring an end to online ban, by Michael Bachael - The Sydney Morning Herald - 21st February 2010

An illegal online gambling company is setting up office in Australia and advertising for staff even though the business is prohibited, not taxed and subject to fines of up to $1.1 million a day.

But the federal government has made no moves to enforce its own internet gambling law, allowing offshore companies to flout it.

Party Poker, registered in Gibraltar, is advertising for a head of marketing in Australia, based in Sydney, to "leverage the brand at the forefront of the poker market in Australia and New Zealand".

But the Interactive Gaming Act 2001 makes it an offence for a company in Australia or overseas to provide online casino games to any person who is "physically present in Australia". Fines for a breach are up to $220,000 a day for individuals, and $1.1 million a day for companies.

The law has never been enforced, with the government making no attempt to restrict the activities of online poker games or online casinos. The Productivity Commission's recent draft report into gambling estimated that $790 million flowed offshore to illegal online sites in 2008, without any of it recouped in tax. (Credit: The Sydney Morning Herald)

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