- Ban likely to take effect within the 30 days and will likely see more operators leave the Australian market
- Frustration for players as results from online poker enquiry yet to be revealed
When the Australian Senate approved amendments to the Interactive Gambling Amendment Bill 2016 in March this year, many in the industry saw the writing on the wall. And so it was that yesterday the Senate passed the bill, which is set to place a national ban on the provision of online casino and poker.
The passed bill is mainly designed to ban unlicensed online gambling providers from targeting a potential Australian customer base, and will come into effect within 30 days.
Professional Poker Opinion too late
Many hoped the passing of the bill would be held up until at least the middle of September, when a report based on a recent online poker inquiry is set to be published.
The inquiry asked online poker players on their thoughts about whether online poker should be banned and if not, why not. The game even received support from Senator David Leyonhjelm, who believes that rather than banning online poker, regulating the sector properly would be a better bet – it is likely that thought will be echoed in the results of the inquiry.
Senator Leyonhjelm has argued that online poker should be classified as a different element to online casino games as it involves a skill base.
Amendment designed to protect customers
The bill has been designed with the intention of protecting particularly vulnerable online gamblers in a bid to reduce the possibility of addiction through uncontrolled betting.
In 2016, Australians bet more more per capita than any other nation and the government is concerned that problem gambling could be on the rise.
Online bingo operator Vera & John was the first to stop operations in the country back in December 2016, with 888Poker quickly following suit in January along with 32Red and Gaming Innovation Group also.
PokerStars is reportedly likely to announce they will be the next out the door after stating it will leave if the bill is passed by the Senate.
Earlier in the year Senate Leyonhjelm said that the amendments to the bill were ‘stupid’ and that online gamblers would find a way to continue to find ways to play outside the legal system.
That could create a problem of its own but as it stands the countdown is on. 30 days to go.
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