A proposal to legalize online poker and sports betting in Australia is being drafted by the government, who reportedly informed the country's gambling industry to anticipate a time frame of 6-12 months for the legislation to take hold.
Online gambling in Australia has been illegal since the first Internet gambling sites began appearing in the 90's. Many offshore sites have flouted the law and cater to the Aussie market despite a 2001 Interactive Gambling Act that calls for fines of over a million dollars to be levied against violators. However, no gambling websites have ever been charged under the Act.
The Daily Telegraph has reported that an email sent from Mark Bryan, a gaming analyst with Merrill Lynch, to many of his clients, said, "In-play live online betting: Many in the industry indicated that they expect this to be legalised alongside poker in the next six-12 months following overseas precedents." It is believed that the legislation will allow for a five-year trial period.
Australia's most recent census shows a population of roughly 21 million. However, current demographic projections have indicated that the population may reach 42 million by 2050.