Daniel Sebag, CFO of PokerStars, announced during the Amaya’s Q3 earnings call that they would “block” Australian players if parliament passes a new online gambling legislation which will amend the Interactive Gambling Act of 2011.
According to Global Betting and Gaming Consultants affirmed, Australia spends approximately US$866 per capita on gambling annually, and is currently the biggest gambling nation.
This weekend the Interactive Gambling Amendment Bill 2016 was introduced into parliament by Mitch Fifield, Minister for Communications. Later that same day, Alan Tudge, Minister for Human Services, announced his support of the bill, which he believed would disrupt the activities of “illegal offshore providers” who take advantage of “vulnerable” people in Australia.
The bill that prohibits online gambling in Australia says that “prohibited services under the IGA include online casino-style gaming services of chance or mixed skill and chance, such as blackjack, roulette and poker, which are played for money or anything else of value. Wagering and lotteries are permitted under limited circumstances.”
In Australia, we currently offer poker and are reviewing the applicability of proposed legislation to player-vs-player games of skill,” Sebag said during the Q3 earnings call. “At this time, it would appear likely that if the legislation passes, we would block players from Australia.”
Although the legislation has not yet been passed, the Australian parliament appear keen to crackdown on online gambling. PokerStars’ threat to leave the Australian market may inadvertently be a warning to the continent’s professional poker players.