Australia courts get heavy with $10,000 fine on illegal online poker site operator

  • Poker pro Luke Gregory Brabin the first person to be charged under the Interactive Gambling Act
  • The $10,000 fine is just a message that Australian regulators mean business when it comes to illegal gambling operations

Australia has demonstrated it is fully prepared to take down violators of new laws on online poker after it emerged that Luke Gregory Brabin was fined $10,000 for running an illegal site, according to The Australian.

The Poker Asia Pacific operator has been handed a $10,000 fine from the Australian government.
The Poker Asia Pacific operator has been handed a $10,000 fine from the Australian government.

Setting an example

Although the fine of $10,000 that was issued by Southport Magistrates Court isn’t particularly big, it is a clear signal that things are changing Down Under.

Namely, Brabin is the first person that’s been prosecuted under the Interactive Gambling Act that’s been in place for 16 years. The Act clearly states it is illegal to offer online gambling services to Australian without a proper authorization from the government.

Brabin’s site Poker Asia Pacific popped up on the authorities’ radar last year, when the site and the Facebook group came up with the notice of legal action, informing Aussie players they could no longer play online poker via Asia Pacific until the situation is resolved.

The recent court decision indicates that the situation hasn’t been resolved the way Brabin had planned.

Fighting for online poker

When Poker Asia Pacific site was shut down, Luke Gregory Brabin, a WSOP bracelet winner, informed the players he and his legal team will use this opportunity to fight for online poker Down Under, trying to get it excluded from the Interactive Gambling Act.

Brabin had hoped if his efforts were to be successful, that Poker Asia Pacific could come back online and continue offering services as before. However, that plan was contingent on having the court and the legislators define poker differently than other forms of online gambling and regulate it separately.

In their Facebook posts, the team behind Poker Asia Pacific emphasized that, should their efforts fail, it wouldn’t mean just the end of their site but other online poker sites catering to players from Down Under.

At the time, Brabin expressed his concerns that online poker might be banned altogether in Australia in 2017.

Although a gloomy prophecy, the exodus of operators from the Australian gambling market, especially online poker sites, indicates that Brabin was on the money with his predictions. At the same time, the $10,000 fine is just a warning to anyone who might consider doing things contrary to the law.

It seems that the only thing that could help online poker in Australia is creating a legal framework for the interested providers, which would allow them to obtain licenses and continue serving Australian players. However, this framework needs to be favorable to the operators as well in terms of taxation and other relevant regulations.

If not, they’ll be in no rush to return.

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