Back in March, Somuchpoker reported on the worrying developments down under as the government in Australia barred online poker. There was support for online poker, and some senators stood up and spoke for the game to be treated differently to other forms of gambling, but as is so often the case when politicians make judgements on poker – they decided poker should not be treated differently.
Read More : Australia’s federal parliament bans online poker
It was the 2001 Interactive Gambling Act that was set to be amended, as the Australian parliament sought to protect problem gamblers and deal with offshore operators who they felt may not operate in the right way. Alan Tudge, who is the current Human services Minister put forward a bill called the Interactive Gambling Amendment Bill 2016, which was then passed after being debated.
Senator Leyonhjelm speaks out
Back then, Senator Leyonhjelm called for online poker to be given special status compared to other betting and said: “Online poker is not a spectator sport. Nobody tries to fix a cricket match as part of an online poker game. There is no public interest in banning it as part of interactive gambling laws”. He remains one of the poker community’s biggest allies in the Australian parliament.
Yesterday, this tale took another twist, with Senator Leyonhjelm having his motion for an inquiry into online poker’s inclusion in the amendment which was passed in March, approved. This inquiry would allow people interested in the amendment to voice their opinions on the subject, and for those opinions to then be considered by the Australian parliament. Of course, this does not mean that the amendments that look set to block online poker in Australia will be overturned, or even adjusted necessarily, but it is a step toward them being reviewed.
The Australian Online Poker Alliance (AOPA) calls for action
“This great news for the Australian Poker Community would not have been possible without the hard work of the many thousands of Aussie players who took part in our campaign.”
“The number of people we had contact their local MPs through emails, social media, letter writing and phone calls was amazing.
“As a community we showed that when we work together as one, we can make sure our voices are heard.”
“We said from day one that all we wanted was a fair fight. We have that now and it is important that we make the most of it.”
“We will need as many Aussie poker players as possible making submissions and stating the case as to why safe, regulated online poker in Australia is in our nation’s best interest.”
“If players haven’t done so already they are encouraged to head to our website and leave their details so they can be kept informed of updates and important information about the inquiry.”
The impact of the new bill
The Interactive Gambling Act of 2001 is set to be updated and further clarified by the Interactive Gambling Amendment Bill 2016, which has not yet come into effect, despite having been approved. Under the new rules, offshore operators could theoretically apply to be licenced and to operate legally in Australia, but it is thought that this will be extremely difficult, to the point of bordering on the impossible. 888Poker are one of the bigger operators to have already voluntarily pulled out of the Australian market, and even with this inquiry having been approved, there are no guarantees that more may soon follow.
Read More : 888poker Exits Australian Market
Article by Craig Bradshaw