PokerStars May Pull Out of Australia
PokerStars may no longer accept Australian players if new gambling legislation is passed in the country. Amaya, PokerStars’ parent company, confirmed that Australian players may be blocked from their website if the new anti-gambling laws are passed.
Last week, a new amendment to the Interactive Gambling Act of 2011 was introduced to parliament, which would lead to a crackdown on unlicensed gambling operators, including PokerStars. While, Australia was considered a “grey market” for gambling operators, this would change with the new legislation.
PokerStars already took its first steps towards leaving the Australian market when earlier this year, it announced that it would no longer be sponsoring the Aussie Millions poker tournament that is being held at Crown Casino in Melbourne in January.
If the legislation passes, PokerStars will go a step further and pull out of Australia completely. With its population of 24 million, the Australian market contributes around 2.5 percent of Amaya’s revenue.
“In Australia, we currently offer poker and are reviewing the applicability of proposed legislation to player-vs-player games of skill,” commented Daniel Sebag, chief financial officer at Amaya. “At this time, it would appear likely that if the legislation passes, we would block players from Australia.”
If the legislation passes and PokerStars continues to operate unlicensed in Australia, it risks losing its licenses in other jurisdictions, such as New Jersey, a license it was awarded in March after spending millions of dollars lobbying to return to the regulated US market. The company is continuing to expand into other markets and recently announced plans to launch in the newly regulated market in Portugal. As the legislation in Australia would allow for lotteries and limited forms of sports betting only, PokerStars would not be able to obtain a license to operate in Australia.
March 27, 2017