Catholic support for on-line gambling ban
The head of South Australia's Centacare, Dale West, has supported of the Federal Government's moratorium on online gambling, but remains sceptical as to how effective it may be.
But Mr West - a gambling counsellor - told The Catholic Weekly that the moratorium would at least raise social awareness of the issue.
The Federal Government has banned Internet gambling until May 2001. But the ban does not cover sporting events, and prospective Internet gamblers can also gamble through sites not held on Australian servers.
The casino industry says the ban is meaningless, while the Queensland and Northern Territory Governments say the Federal Government would be better off regulating Australian sites rather than forcing people to go to off-shore sites.
"We're too far behind in terms of being able to regulate," Mr West said. "As far as regulation goes, it just raises this issue as a social issue."
Mr West said technology-assisted gambling meant people could literally gamble non-stop without leaving their homes. But, he added, ever more complex gambling methods could also lead to increased losses. Spread-betting was an example of this. Spread-betting allows players to bet on obscure aspects of sporting matches, such as the number of lengths by which a horse might win a race. It is being promoted with the slogan - 'the more right you are, the more you win'.