With the Australian senate recently voting to approve a piece of legislation which shuts the door to most online poker operators in Australia, it is fair to say that poker in the country will probably never be the same again. The situation is certainly bleak, but not entirely beyond hope.
Australian government is considering licencing onshore operators
One of the rays of hope remaining for online poker players in Australia can be found in the form of new proposals, which suggest licencing onshore operators.
David Leyonhjelm, who has campaigned tirelessly for online poker within the senate has been advised by Communications Minister Mitch Fifield that his Department would be receptive to options which could licence onshore poker operators, allowing them to continue doing business in the country.
There is also a senate committee currently looking more closely at the ban which has affected online poker, and will report on their findings in the middle of October.
Leyonhjelm is said to already have the support of some senators in this endeavour, and if that support grows within the senate, his proposals could really start to gain traction. “I believe we have won the ‘in-principle’ battle,”
Senator Leyonhjelm said. “The question now will be how to make it happen in practice”. He went on to say, “I will maintain close contact with Minister Fifield and his Department to ensure this matter maintains momentum. Australian online poker players deserve to have a safe, regulated environment in which to enjoy their pastime and not be forced into using offshore sites”.
PokerStars and Partypoker exit Australia
The Stars Group, who is the parent company of PokerStars, have officially pulled out of Australia due to the Interactive Gambling Amendment Act which prohibits unlicensed companies from accepting Australian customers. Partypoker already withdrew from the Australian market late in August, and Australian players have now been removed from the PokerStars player pool too, just as the WCOOP festival is heating up.
Partypoker’s Managing Director Tom Waters released a statement about the situation in Australia which said,
“We regret that this day has come as Australia is a strong poker market. We will continue to work with the Australian player alliance to lobby the government to provide a safe regulated environment for residents to play online poker in the future”.
Martin ‘nizmo jiz’ Kozlov finishes 8th in the WCOOP $10,300 High Roller event
Even with licencing reforms bringing some hope to players in Australia, political reforms are often processed slowly, meaning that players may be stuck with the current difficult situation for a while yet. There are other options for those who are serious professional players however, as highlighted by Australia pro, Martin ‘nizmo jiz’ Kozlov. He has relocated his PokerStars account to Macau for the time being, and was rewarded in the current WCOOP festival by finishing 8th in the $10,300 High Roller event for $67,682.
WCOOP-82-H $10,300 NLHE (High Roller) $1.5m GTD
Prize pool: $2,440,000
Places paid: 31
1. Patrick “prepstyle71” Serda (Canada) $469,190.91
2. KumariOy (Russia) $355,808.85
3. limitless (Poland) $269,831
4. Jens “Fresh_oO_D” Lakemeier (Germany) $204,630.11
5. _paul€Faul_ (Germany) $155,183.75
6. ROFLshove (Mexico) $117,685.34
7. Andres “Educa-p0ker” Artinano (United Kingdom) $51,327.59
8. nizmo jiz (Macao) $67,682.18
9. LAP1293 (United Kingdom) $51,327.59
Article By Craig Bradshaw