Since last year, some members of parliament in Australia have been working to get online poker to be illegal. Their efforts have proven to be fruitful because on 9 August playing poker online from an offshore provider is illegal.
Online poker providers have 30 days to close off Aussie player accounts. Once the grace period is over if any of the providers still offer online poker gambling services, they will be dealt with lawfully.
To the Australian Online Poker Alliance (AOPA), this may seem like a slap in the face. This is because they presented their case to the Environment and Communications References Committee just a week before. Their case was to try and convince the government not to ban the activity of poker gambling online.
Illegal Online Poker in Australia – Background
The Interactive Gambling Bill 2001 was passed to offer a safer platform for Australian online gamblers. 15 years later the government felt the need to investigate the impact that offshore gambling has on Aussies. They hired Barry O’Farrell to do the research. He made them aware that players were spending too much money on online gaming websites. He also made them mindful of the fact that the government was losing out on $100 million in tax revenue.
As a result of this research, the Interactive Gambling Amendment Bill 2016 was created. This prompted leading poker providers to exit the online poker gambling market in Australia.
Many fear that the banning of online poker in Australia will lead punters to find alternatives to continue to enjoy their favourite game. These alternatives may not be safe and legal, and this is one of the reasons AOPA was presenting to the government.
However, there may still be hope for Aussies. Environment and Communications References Committee have until 21 September to report back from the case presented and the submissions that they received.