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Australian Illegal Gaming Sector Set to Go Beyond $2 Billion, Regulators Look for Stricter Laws

Illegal Australian gambling

Illegal gaming in Australia is expected to top the $2 billion mark by next year, making the regulator look for stricter laws governing the sector. The exponential growth of illegal gambling has left the legal gambling sector behind. According to a major study by a regional task force, the size of the sector has doubled in just four years.

The anti-illegal betting taskforce of the Asian Racing Federation based in Hong Kong conducted the study to find the extent of illegal betting and gaming in Australia, Singapore, New Zealand, South Korea, and South Africa. The team also included representatives from the racing investigation and intelligence operations in Victoria and NSW regions.

The report suggests that the worldwide bookmakers’ margins can range anywhere between $29 billion to $124 billion whereas legal sports betting margins go between $29 billion and $88 billion. The report also estimates that about 8 in every 10 global sports bets are illegal.

The nation has a $50 billion black economy, and illegal gambling alone is costing it nearly $383 million a year in lost tax revenue. This made the sector a primary target for the police and tax authorities to crack down on. The study also warns that there are strong links between money laundering, illegal betting, and agents of organized crime located both domestically and internationally. It also suggests that the illegal sports betting is “at least as big as the legal market.” 

The report is also being studied by the Federal Treasury and the Black Economy Taskforce which will use its finding to refine its strategies for identifying illegal betting and preventing tax evasion.  The authorities believe that the problem is getting bigger because of online betting.

It suggests that lightly regulated betting tax havens are allowing online operators to act as licensed operators in some regions. It also noted that the total number of illegal wagers could be as high as $2.4 trillion, which is equivalent to India’s GDP, one of Asia’s biggest economies. Margins in illegal wagering are also comparable because the operators do not pay much tax.

Illegal betting in Australia accounts for 6 percent of the total market, which is the smallest of all the countries surveyed. In South Korea, for example, the rate is as high as 60 percent. Australia has managed the crisis more efficiently thanks to its more comprehensive anti-illegal betting and anti-sports corruption laws.