Online poker shut down in Australia following new amendments Bill
Online Poker in Australia is now banned unless players want to take part in un-authorised games online following the passing of The Interactive Gambling Amendment Bill 2016 by the federal parliament on Tuesday 21st March.
Following a Review of Illegal Offshore Wagering in 2015 where companies could also offer in-play betting over the telephone the Parliament moved to close the loophole and also shut down online poker at the same time.
“The 2001 Interactive Gambling Act had already sought to outlaw online gambling — including poker, blackjack and roulette — but this amendment bill aimed to close “loopholes” which allowed online gambling to continue,” said Liberal Democrats senator David Leyonhjelm.
“It’s stupid,” he told reporters in Australia.
“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.”
“The original 2001 law was meant to stop online gambling of many kinds, but it didn’t, there was a loophole. There is quite an active online poker community in Australia. I don’t think it will succeed for those really determined. If you have a [virtual private network] or offshore account, you will still play. It’s a stupid situation to be in,” he continued by saying.
“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.”
Online companies such as Vera&John left the Australian market in December as the writing was on the wall that new amendments were coming, also 888 pulled out in January expecting the same and online poker giant PokerStars said it will leave the Australian online poker business should the amendments come into force.