New laws, though not intentionally, might put Aussie gamblers at risk of losing their favourite casino game
Online Poker players in Australia are dreading a possible change of rules that could see their favourite online casino game rendered inaccessible to them.
The Australian parliament is set to vote on the introduction of a bill that would require all offshore gambling sites to be licensed in Australia.
The aim of the bill is not to ban online gambling, but to protect problem gamblers and to prevent dubious offshore companies from flouting certain regulations in Australia.
However, the wording of the bill has many players and online casinos in a flat spin.
Bad Wording Might Kill Online Poker
The main point of contention lies in the wording of the bill. Online Poker websites will be required to be licensed to operate in Australia. However, online Poker is still currently listed as a prohibited game in Australia.
In anticipation of the law passing, poker giants 888Poker.com have already pulled out of the Australian market.
“In Australia, we currently offer poker and are reviewing the applicability of proposed legislation to player-vs.-player games of skill,” Daniel Sebag, who left the company on January 20, told investors during a recent earnings call, according to Poker News.
“At this time, it would appear likely that if the legislation passes, we would block players from Australia.”
Joseph Del Duca, an investment banker who recently set up the Australian Online Poker Alliance (AOPA) to help prevent the bill from passing, said he fears the change because all the regulated and trustworthy online poker sites will comply with any change in the law, and suspect online Poker sites will continue to operate.
“The intent of the bill is admirable. It’s not the intent of the bill to ban online poker … it’s just an unfortunate by product of the wording of it,” Del Duca said in an interview with news.com.au
Del Duca and the AOPA have launched a petition on change.org to help prevent the bill from passing. It will be interesting to see what the future of online Poker in Australia holds.