Why Australian players are missing out on Mega Moolah
It's been a time of change in the Australian gambling industry and not necessarily one for the better, especially if you are a fan of top quality slot games that offer a massive progressive jackpot prize, such as the Mega Moolah slot!
A quick look back through the history of the Mega Moolah slot will reveal that the game has been won by players using Australian Dollars as their preferred choice of currency in the past, but the August 2017 win may well be the last time any player from Australia gets a chance to change their life for the better by winning one of the most famous progressive jackpots in slots gaming history.
The reason for that is simple, the change in gambling laws in Australia in recent times. But what is most interesting about this, is that it seems that the laws have been changed, at a time when a growing number of Australian players actually want to play for a big cash prize. Who doesn't! How do we know that? The answer lies in the recent financial results published by one of Australian's big lottery games organisers, Tabcorp.
Tabcorp lottery results boost
As reported in the Morning Star newspaper on February 13th 2019, the Australian Stock Exchange floated company Tabcorp saw their half-yearly profits for the fiscal year of 2019 increase to a massive AU$210.6 million.
That big improvement in performance was more than double the profit made by the company in the same period in 2018.
The results were driven by the high number of favourable jackpot wins in the lottery division of the company, where total revenues climbed by 20%. This rise coming on the back of six jackpots of $50 million or more being awarded during the six-month period of the first part of the Fiscal year 2019.
Over the course of the year, Tabcorp saw the number of customers it attracted increase by 13% and that is seemingly being entirely driven by the success of its lottery game.
Now on the face of it, it may well seem that Australian players have decided that lottery gaming is the way forward - because there's nothing else to play - and with no Australian Dollar winner of the Mega Moolah jackpot prize since August 2017, could it be that Aussie players have turned their back on progressive jackpot slots and are instead playing the lottery?
Well no, that is not the case. The truth of the matter is that Australian slots fans now have no choice over what they can play when it comes to trying to win a life-changing amount of money thanks to the new Australian Gambling Industry Amendment that came into being which decimated the burgeoning online gaming scene in the country.
Why Australians have lost out thanks to the amendment
It is fair to say that Australia has always had something of a bee in its bonnet when it comes to online gaming. The first Interactive Gambling Act was initiated in 2001 and was aimed at negating the negative effects of gambling within the country, although perhaps tellingly, what these negative effects were, or how they manifested themselves, were never cogently explained.
It also must be recognised that Australia is by and large a country that loves a gamble. According to the BBC over 80% of Australian adults engage in some form of gambling one way or another and at least 4% of Australians used to play slot machines (or pokies as they are called Down Under) at least once per week.
While the initial Interactive Gambling Act of 2001 was aimed at curtailing these activities, it soon transpired that there were loopholes in the legislation. While companies could not advertise directly at Australian players, Aussies could still play the games if they joined a casino that was licensed outside of the country.
Of course, it didn't take the authorities long to realise that this loophole saw many Australian players enjoying a wide range of casino games, including Mega Moolah (as the regular number of Australian Dollar winners show) and that this money was revenue that was leaving the country, with the government seeing no benefit from it in the form of taxation.
A review of the act in 2012 revealed that the government felt that the IGA was not working as hoped and by 2016, the Interactive Gambling Amendment Bill was formulated which amended the original bill, which now outlawed casino gaming even if the casino is based offshore and is entirely legal. That's not all though as the law also effectively outlawed playing online poker, which now means that Australian poker fans, as well as American players, now cannot legally play poker online.
When the bill passed into law in 2018, the result was a number of top companies were forced to withdraw their services to Australian players, including of course Microgaming. This meant that Australian players now had little to no choice in the games that they could play in order to gamble legally in their country. Essentially now Australian's have the choice of wagering on sports betting and horse racing, and playing the lottery.
There is compelling evidence that it may well be this backward-thinking form of legislation which has driven the increase in lottery gaming in Australia. It isn't that lottery games have suddenly increased in popularity, it is simply that millions of Australian players now have no other choices available to them.
Has it worked?
Perhaps the most damning aspect of the IGA bill is the fact that it has struck at only the most reputable companies, such as Microgaming, who are fully licensed, have all their games certified and offer customers from all over the globe a safe and fair place to play.
While these companies have indeed withdrawn their products for Australian players, there is still a thriving black-market scene where offshore casinos will offer Australian players the chance to play games that are outlawed in the country. Essentially, it could be argued that the IGA bill, far from making the typical Australian gambler safer, has forced many gamblers to seek alternative options offshore to get their kicks.
Is there a solution?
Could there be a solution that could reduce this risk for Australian players who want to enjoy slot games legally in their country? While it seems unlikely given the current governmental stance on the issue, the fact that Tabcorp is positing such good financial results is showing that the gambling industry is still thriving in Australia and that does mean more taxes to collect from it.
Would the government consider companies like Tabcorp striking licensing deals to offer selected jackpot slots and casino games from regulated and licensed companies to Australian players? It would make sense in many ways, offering Australians a safe and legal place to play, a greater choice of games to play and also would likely increase the amount of profit the company makes, thus increasing the taxes the government earns.
However, as things stand, that still looks a long way from coming to pass in Australia which is a shame as it means that many Aussie players are missing out on the chance to play for the world's biggest online jackpot prizes on Mega Moolah.
Byline: This article was published by Mega Moolah expert Henry. Media and other enquiries.
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