- Senator David Leyonhjelm announces parliamentary inquiry into the looming online poker ban in Australia
- Leyonhjelm hoping to make lawmakers understand that the new law in its current form defeats its very purpose of protecting players
Prospects for online poker in Australia haven’t been that great lately, as upcoming changes to online gambling laws are likely to prevent Aussies from enjoying one of their favorite pastimes. The Interactive Gambling Amendment Act, which will be added to the Interactive Gambling Act of 2002, clearly states that all operators wishing to cater to Australian players need to be licensed in the country.
The caveat is, Australia doesn’t even offer online poker licenses, which means that nearly all reputable online poker sites will be forced to leave the country if they don’t want to continue operating illegally.
Luckily, not all is lost just yet thanks to David Leyonhjelm, a New South Wales senator who has announced a parliamentary inquiry into the online poker ban.
Leyonhjelm for online poker and civil liberties
David Leyonhjelm, a Liberal Democrat, has been one of the loudest defenders of online poker ever since the new bill was first mentioned. His stand on the matter is very clear, as he sees this ban as a violation of civil liberties and describes the whole situation as “stupid.”
Namely, with the new regulation in place, Australia would allow sports betting and other forms of real gambling, but poker, which is undeniably a skill game at least to some extent, would be excluded.
The whole idea behind the new bill is to offer better protection for Australian players, offering them a chance to only play with fully licensed and completely safe operators. However, the bill would have a completely adverse effect for those who enjoy online poker, as they would be forced to seek out alternative ways and operators who aren’t correctly regulated to play with, simply because online poker isn’t clearly defined.
Parliamentary enquiry necessary
For these reasons, Leyonhjelm believes that a parliamentary enquiry is necessary and it is the only way to make the lawmakers understand his perceived absurdity of the new law. He already tried to include special online poker provisions in March, but he was unsuccessful.
In the light of upcoming changes, some online poker operators have already left the market, including the industry giant 888 Poker. PokerStars has also announced that it would soon be leaving.
So, now, Leyonhjelm is the only one truly battling for online poker Down Under. He’s been calling for all those who share his concerns to submit their inquiries online. If enough people share their thoughts and concerns, the senator hopes that the Parliament will be able to see that the new law in its current form is problematic, to say the least, and that some changes are absolutely necessary to protect online poker players in the country.
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