Federal Group thumbs nose at Federal Govt

Another custard pie was thrown in the face of the Howard government's impending moratorium on internet gaming yesterday, with the launch of yet another Australian betting site.

According to casino operation The Federal Group, which yesterday launched its gaming portal, Southern Cross Casinos, the company received its licence to operate an online casino from the Tasmanian Government in 1998.

The Government's online gaming moratorium, which is expected to be passed by parliament in August this year, is likely to ban all Australian internet gaming operations licensed after May 19, 2000.

The moratorium threatens fines of up to $1.1 million per day, enforceable by Federal Police, for companies that break the moratorium.

While online gaming startups that don't beat the May 19 deadline are unable to operate for one year, until 19 May 2001, gamers such as GoCorp, Lasseters Online and lotto ticket peddler eBay have already scraped into operation by obtaining licences before May 19.

The Southern Cross Casinos site, regulated by the Tasmanian Government, offers access to the online versions of The Federal Group's two Tasmanian-based offline casinos.

The Federal Group plans to accept all cash bets through its website from overseas; Australians are only able to participate in transaction-free mockups of gambling scenarios.

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