Aussie Banks Say Hands Off
By staff
Australian banks warn the Howard government they will not support efforts to block financial transactions with illegal casinos, claiming it is unfeasible and inappropriate for financial transaction systems to be used as an enforcement tool or for banks to act as enforcement agencies.

In a submission to the Government's interactive gambling inquiry, the Australian Bankers' Association (ABA) also says its members should not have to bear the costs of any new financial transaction regulations, and that proposals for regulating transactions will have unintended and unwarranted consequences. Under Australia's Internet gambling laws, locals cannot use casino-style online gambling sites, but this has not stopped Australians accessing the hundreds of sites hosted offshore.

In the last three months of 2002, Australians used their Visa cards 32,000 times for online gambling - legal and illegal - spending $4 million. That was less than 0.03 per cent of all Australian transactions in the same time.

Under the federal Interactive Gambling Act - which is being reviewed - it is illegal to provide online gambling to Australians, except for some sports and racing services.

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