Online poker is officially illegal after the Australian Senate passed the Interactive Gambling Amendment (IGA) Bill earlier in August. This followed an online poker enquiry, which many online casino players hoped would stay the online poker clause. As a result, operators like PokerStars have decided to exit the Aussie market.
The clause in the modified IGA Bill that dealt with online poker has banned the game for all AU players. Additionally, the IGA Bill has banned all unlicensed online casinos from operating in Australia. However, this has impacted all casino operators who don’t have a license from the AU government.
In a statement earlier this year, PokerStars revealed that they would exit Australia if the IGA Bill was passed. In June, the House of Representatives passed the bill and the Senate have now done the same. Banning online poker as a whole came after the game was never given a legal code for interactive gambling. Many other casino games are regulated under online gambling laws, but poker was somehow excluded.
So, because of the new laws, it is now illegal for Aussie gamblers to play online poker. Last week, officials launched an enquiry to discuss legalising the game. However, the bill was passed by Senate shortly after, and the results will only be finalised in September.
The announcement by PokerStars claimed that the operator would leave by mid-September. They will join operators like Vera & John, 32Red and many others who have made the same decision. Unfortunately, the new Aussie legislation will include extra taxes on Internet casinos as well as licensing requirements.
Online gambling sites will have their work cut out for them if they wish to remain in Australia. New laws also include betting requirements and further regional restrictions. More so, there will be a ‘crackdown’ on illegal, or ‘rogue,’ gambling sites. It’s unclear how officials hope to achieve this right now, but we’ll keep our AU players up-to-date.