Online poker is a game of wits and courage enjoyed by thousands of people across Australia but which is now at risk of Online poker is a game of wits and courage enjoyed by thousands of people across Australia but is now lined up to be banned by the Federal Government. We’re calling on all Australians that want to defend their right to play poker online to lend us their support.
The Australian Online Poker Alliance had petitioned parliament to ensure that online poker isn’t an accidental casualty of the 'Interactive Gambling Amendment Bill (2016)', but the legislation is banning online gaming sites that are not locally licensed in an attempt to protect Australian citizens from September, 2017.
While the intention is admirable, the way in which the Bill is currently drafted will mean the end for online poker in Australia. Why? The overwhelming majority of online poker websites used by Australians are run by legitimate companies that are licensed elsewhere in the world. There are no poker operators licensed domestically in Australia and current legislation does not provide any way for these overseas operators to be licensed and provide secure services to Australian players.
What will happen is that the large public operators that are listed on the London and New York stock exchanges, which are licensed by regulators who impose strict customer protections, fraud and anti-money laundering measures, will be forced to withdraw from the market. The legislation will leave the risky, unregulated offshore operators as the only option for players, creating an unsafe poker environment.
The Australian Online Poker Alliance asked for the government to amend the Bill to stipulate the exclusion of online poker until a clear avenue for these legitimate overseas operators to be licensed in Australia is established. We’re proud to say that we raised the issue at the highest levels and created conversation that helped to launch an official inquiry named ‘Participation of Australians in online poker’ which is due to report back on September 14, 2017.
As consenting adults, it should be our right to be able to play poker safely and securely with responsible and reputable companies. We remain committed to the cause and optimistic that together we can make the argument for poker specific legislation.
Online poker will be prohibited in Australia. This means all of the respectable and regulated, global publicly listed companies that currently provide online poker to the Australian market will withdraw, leaving only the black-market operators that will flout the law regardless.
The Interactive Gambling Act (2001) is being amended. This is the first change to this Act since 2001. The online world has changed a lot since then and many progressive countries have enacted online poker legislation that increases consumer safety and raises tax revenue. These countries include the United States, United Kingdom, France, Spain and Italy. Previous Australian government reviews have found that the Act should be amended in order for online poker to be licensed and regulated. The government has ignored this, however, and listed online poker as a prohibited activity.
Online poker will no longer be offered legally in Australia. Any sites that continue to offer poker services to Australian players will be operating outside of the law. Without regulation, these sites will not be required to protect you, your funds, or work to fight fraud and problem gambling.
It means that as a hard-working taxpayer you no longer have the right to a hobby that you enjoy playing.
It also means that the most vulnerable in our community will be worse off. Many will still play poker but instead of large trusted companies all that will be left in the market are unscrupulous operators acting outside of the law.
It also means an amazing loss of revenue for our country. Major poker sites have made very clear their desire to be licensed and regulated in Australia. These companies are ready to contribute millions in tax revenue to Australia, which means better infrastructure, more schools, more hospitals and less of a budget deficit.
Join the fight to keep online poker in Australia! Check out our Take Action page. Tell your local MPs and senators that poker should not be illegal and that it needs to be licensed and regulated in Australia.