International online gambling companies are expected to make a mass exodus from Australia in the wake of the country’s new online gambling amendments. Among the several amendments that the Australian senate has recently given approval, were a few gambling laws that will act to outlaw domestic online poker, roulette, and in-play, or live sports betting. This will force Aussie gamblers seeking online options to rely on the legally sanctioned offshore gambling sites that accept players from Australia. This will include Australian online poker, bingo, sports betting and casino gaming.
This isn’t the first time the country has tried to crack down on several types of domestically based internet gambling. In 2001, the Interactive Gambling Act was thought to have been made to outlaw online gambling genres like poker, blackjack, and roulette but was wrought with loopholes that went on exploited for over a decade. This new Interactive Gambling Amendment Bill has been crafted in order to close up those loopholes and finally put an end to what Australia has been trying to stop for quite some time. Some fear that the crack down will not only provide a boon to legal Australian online gambling sites, but also to the questionable destinations that are not necessarily operating legally within the industry.
Some major companies have already withdrawn from the country. Vera & John, an online bingo provider, has been the first to close down operations in Australia with many more rumored to follow suit. 888Poker is resting on more than a rumor as it has been confirmed they will also be leaving the Land Down under in January. PokerStars, one of the biggest providers of online poker in the world, has also announced its intention to leave.
These amendments are not without their opponents, liberal democrat senator, David Leyonhjelm believes the changes are needless and unproductive, “If you want to play poker, there are lots of opportunities in Australia, at casinos and tournaments. It’s not as if there isn’t a great deal of poker playing already, but they’re just stopping it online. The whole world is online now,” said the senator.
He goes on to explain that because the 2001 law didn’t really work to stop anything that it was trying to stop. A vast online poker community has developed in the 14 years that the loopholes have been played through and Leyonhjelm is pretty certain that the players who have become infatuated with the online industry will continue to play despite the new amendments. “There is quite an active online poker community in Australia. I don’t think it will succeed for those really determined.”
The senator warns the internet gamblers in his interview with the Huffington post, “It will promote the black market. There are ways to circumvent these prohibition approaches. People will gamble using foreign providers by various means. They will be in the hands of sometimes shady providers, and if they get ripped off, they will have no recourse.”
Despite the recent legal changes in Australia, it is still not legally prohibited for residents who have become engrained in the online poker community to play at legally regulated offshore poker sites. Although the government doesn’t seem to like the idea of their players doing this, it still remains a perfectly viable option for anyone. The same also applies with in-play live sports betting and the various casino games you can find from these legal Australian online casinos.