Just last week, we reported that the Australian Senate had decided to approve the 2016 Internet Gambling Amendment Bill to stop offshore online poker operators from providing services in the country. The bill is set to go into effect within a 30-day time frame from passing and now it seems PokerStars has decided to move out before the bill is enacted.
Last week, customers in Australia began to receive emails from PokerStars alerting members that the brand will begin to leave the Australian market around mid-September. An exact date was not provided and should be announced in the near future. PokerStars stated they were aware that this day was coming if the law was changed and after the recent developments, the online poker site has decided it’s time to move out.
In the message, PokerStars stated that they respect the decision of the Australian Government in taking steps to protect consumers. They hope that in time, PokerStars will be able to provide real-money poker in Australia once again. Once real-money gaming is no more, PokerStars does plan on offering play-money gaming in the country.
PokerStars will be alerting players in Australia of the closure date in the future and at that time, tournament tickets and cash will be converted into real money so withdrawals can be made. Players will also have the ability to convert StarsCoin for cash based on $1.00 increments. PokerStars also reminded players that any unopened chests will need to be reviewed before converting StarsCoin.
Proponents of real-money poker for the country are hoping to see a bill introduced in the future that will create a regulated marketplace. However, it will probably be some time before any efforts will be made to allow for legalized and regulated online poker gaming in the country. The Australian Online Poker Alliance is a group that has fought for the industry and will continue the fight. The group is encouraging poker players to contact parliamentary senators and representatives to ask for support in regards to gaming.