Australia outlaws online poker and live sports betting

Aust

australigavel
ralia’s federal government has passed the Gambling Amendment Bill 2016 in order to close a number of regulatory loopholes, in turn placing a ban on online poker and live sports betting.

The Australian Senate has been reviewing the propositions of the Amendment Bill since November 2016.

The Interactive Gambling Amendment Bill 2016 was introduced back in November by the Minister for Human Services Alan Tudge. The bill came about after the Review of Illegal Offshore Wagering in 2015 recommended the tightening up of federals laws around gambling online.

The restructuring of Australia’s gambling laws is largely divided, with a number of conservative MPs backing tougher stances and restrictions on online gambling, amid the growth of remote betting operators targeting Australian consumers.

However, Liberal Democrats Senator David Leyonhjelm told The Huffington Post Australia: “It’s stupid. 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.”

Leyonhjelm said that the Australian online poker community has been utilising a loophole and claimed that the changed to the bill are unnecessary and ineffective. He adds: “The original 2001 law was meant to stop online gambling of many kids, but it didn’t, there was a loophole. If you have a virtual private network or offshore account, you will still play. It’s a stupid situation to be in.”

Furthermore, the bill has placed a ban on live sports betting to help reduce match-fixing, but Leyonhjelm claims that the amendments actually help it develop:”In the UK, there are licensed providers of in-play betting and the government taxes them. They raised hundreds of millions in revenue last year. They are also able to audit the betting to link sports events being rigged and correlate that back to activity, to follow the money trail.”

Operators 888poker and Vera&John have shut down their market operations and it is likely that Pokerstars is soon to follow. It is said that these operators do not want to operate in “black or grey market” territories and undoubtedly a large number of firms across most gambling verticals will soon follow.

During the Amaya Q3 earnings call, Chief Financial Officer, Daniel Sebag warned investors that the company was also considering withdrawing from the market: “In Australia, we currently offer poker and are reviewing the applicability of proposed legislation to player versus player games of skill. At this time, it would appear likely that if the legislation passes, we would block players from Australia.”
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