How can Australian state governments force people to gamble all of their deposits with bookmakers?

Summary: Australians lose over $25 billion each year through gambling - more per capita than any country in the world! A significant proportion of gamblers suffer harm to their financial security, relationships and mental health; their families and friends often suffer too.

You might naively think Australian governments would try to minimise these harms but $25 billion per year generates a lot of vested interests. Political parties get millions in donations. Regulatory and licencing bodies (and their staff) are funded by gambling industry fees and tax. And State governments want the job creation and easy tax revenue.

Below I describe how Australian state and territory governments are illegitimately colluding with the gambling industry to increase gambling losses via changes like requiring all deposits to be gambled before they can be withdrawn.

Easy to get your cash in, but it's now no longer yours to control once it's in!


Pokies are the greatest evil, but, while they come under growing community pressure, online wagering losses are growing much faster than any other form. Online wagering is the area where State governments can also try and maximise revenue from gambling customers outside their state - all the reward with no upset voters or community protests.

As local communities slowly turn the screws on the pokies, the gambling industry is seeking stealthier ways to reap their profits and it turns out State governments are often in cahoots.

I recently found out that all Australian online wagering firms licenced in the Northern Territory are permitted by the NT Government (via the NT Racing Commission and Licencing NT) to force customers to gamble all of their deposited money before they can withdraw it. Because Anti-Money Laundering!

Outrageous! Imagine if you opened any investment account (e.g. CommSec share trading) and deposited $10,000 but then changed your mind about buying shares but the Commonwealth Bank insisted you must buy $10,000 worth of shares, then sell them, before you could withdraw, to ensure you weren't just laundering money?! This simply can't happen because there is no massive vested interest within government to try and legitimise it.

But, the gambling industry is different, and with a nod and a wink from a colluding State government, Australians' money is now no longer their own once they deposit it with a bookmaker. The State or Territory Government never passes any law or formally announces this change in any gambling regulations. Instead, if you complain, the regulatory agency responding to complaints simply states they are satisfied with the bookmaker's practice. Because Anti-Money Laundering!

In my view, this is theft. Not even legalised theft by corrupted governments or captured regulators. It is illegal theft (no law or regulation has been democratically enacted) being protected by corrupted governments and captured regulators.

99% of gambling accounts are not money launderers, these are just regular punters being scammed into having their own money controlled by bookmakers and forced to be gambled.

Even worse, the less than 1% of accounts involved in money laundering are likely getting away with it. Instead of them being investigated and their illegal money and assets confiscated, they continue to use the gambling industry as a prime means to launder money. The gambling industry take its cut and so does the government!

This begs the question as to what other scams the gambling industry has cooked up together with their partners in government. Stay tuned as I plan to investigate further.



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