Australia has been known as one of the most potent online gambling customer markets throughout the world for a long time. However, legislation in the country in the past has forced other online gambling operators to stop accepting customers from the land down under. Major brands like 888poker and PokerStars have recently vacated the country in the midst of new looming legislation to make the penalties of the past, even harsher. Despite impending legal doom, Ignition poker has audaciously decided to start accepting poker players from Australia despite the risky nature of the online gambling laws in the country. Aussie punters will also be able to play at the Ignition Casino as well. It became known from a non-conspicuous email that was sent out to affiliates and major iGaming media sources instead of the usual press release.
The Interactive Gambling Act of 2001 was aimed at offshore online gambling providers and was meant to significantly reduce the practice of online gambling within the country. Since then, Aussie online poker players, in particular, have operated through legal loopholes and grey areas to access the industry they love. The act is now being revised to impose harsher penalties and close up those loopholes to effectively stop the practice of online gambling from offshore sites entirely.
Ignition Poker seems to me unfazed by the new Interactive Gambling Amendment Bill 2016 (IGA) and intends to continue courting customers from Australia despite the fact that the law is expected to take effect in 2017. It should come as no surprise as Ignition Poker seems to have a history with this type of audacity. The IGA in Australia is similar to the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) in America where Ignition Poker also accepts new players frequently from states that have not yet legalized online poker.
The main detail in the new IGA law that probably has Ignition Poker confident in this decision, is that it will not punish the actual players for playing real-money poker online. Much like the UIGEA bill in the US, the actual bettors will not be penalized in any way for placing those bets. This means the customer market is not incentivized to stop playing the games they enjoy. With the competition being scared away by the new legislation, Ignition Poker is expecting an influx of new members as they are the last remaining reputable brand that will accept players from Australia.
The remaining questions loom around how the government will enforce this new Australian online gambling law. Will they turn a blind eye and ignore the apparent loopholes in the law like America has and allow the industry to continue on? Or, will they continue the push to get all online gambling operations out of Australia and start a litigation process with Ignition Poker? We’ll know more in the next couple of months.