Will Australia be the next country to wave good bye to online poker?
The Australian online poker industry are currently in discussion about the change to the amendment of the Interactive Gambling Act 2001. A new bill to tighten restrictions on offshore operators that operate online gambling services in Australia has been unveiled by the Australian government. This could have a huge knock on effect for the world of online poker.
Since the industry started to boom, online poker has been a bit of a grey area for players and operators who operate ‘down under’. According to the Guardian
Tougher laws will stop illegal offshore providers acting unscrupulously or targeting vulnerable Australians, says human services minister
The proposed Interactive Gambling Act Amendment
The amendment proposes that individuals be fined $1 million per day and companies $4.9 million. This will allow the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) control to issue cautions, violation notices, civil penalties and bans. The new bill will also set out a series of illegal gambling services and others that are permitted to operate if they meet certain exceptions. Such penalties would require the assistance of the Australian Federal Police.
The Implications for Online Poker Industry
Amaya and PokerStars were the first companies to express their concerns and suggested a possible exit from the market. PokerStars’ parent company said it wouldn’t be viable for it to pursue a license if the barriers to entry were too high. 888Poker and Party Poker have also indicated that they will pull out of Australia if the amendment is passed.
If this bill gets passed then could be a huge blow for the online poker industry as whole and not just for players based. Australia is one of the world’s richest countries with a GDP average of around £35,579 per person and population of over 23 million people. We may end up with a similar situation with what happened in the USA before Black-Friday.
There is still hope for Australian Poker Players
Although this is could be a big hit to the poker industry, Several sites in the Bodog/Bovada Network, who already have a large presence throughout Asia, may find away to fill the void left by the big Poker sites such as Pokerstars and Partypoker. This could mean that poker continues to grow in Australia, even after the passage of the bill. Subscribe to this blog to keep updated on further news relating to the Ban of Poker in Australia.