Australian Senate Passes Interactive Gambling Amendment Bill
The Interactive Gambling Amendment Bill passed through the Senate on Tuesday after having been submitted to the Australian Senate last November by the Minister for Human Services, Alan Tudge.
This paves the way for major changes to the regulation of the online gambling industry in Australia, specifically banning the provision of online gambling services to Australians from overseas operators. It will also officially close the loophole and ban online in-play betting on sport. The changes will make the Australian Communication and Media Authority the chief regulator, giving it the power to impose civil penalties on guilty operators, including warnings, infringement notices, fines or injunctions.
The changes will affect online casinos, online poker and any other form of online betting from operators not licensed in Australia.
Senator David Leyonhjelm opposed the bill and tried to introduce an amendment that would exclude online poker and online blackjack as they are games of skill. He was not successful, but he has garnered support from online poker players.
“It’s stupid,” Senator Leyonhjelm said to Huffington Post 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.”
“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.”
There remains no consequence for Australian players who use these services and the responsibility lies with the operators. A number of major operators, such as PokerStars have already warned they will consider leaving the Australian market as a result of the changes.
March 30, 2017