Over the past few months, several online gaming operators have removed services from Australia as lawmakers are working to pass regulatory changes that would prohibit offshore operators who are unlicensed from offering services in the country. Vera&John as well as 888 Holdings were among the first to pull out of Australia in the wake of such legislative changes. Now, 32Red has announced they will no longer be offering services in the country.
32Red operated a sportsbook, casino and poker room online for residents of Australia but as of this week, the brand will no longer offer services in the region. The company sent an email to members of their sites as well as affiliates to report the change. Players were told that no new signups will be allowed in the country and the site will not be accessible for gaming. As far as affiliates are concerned, all materials involving 32Red/Australia are to be removed from affiliate sites including hyperlinks and promotional banners. For now, affiliates will be able to continue to generate revenue shares via referred players in Australia with existing accounts.
The potential changes to regulations in the country in regards to online gaming are connected to the 2016 Interactive Gambling Amendment Bill. This bill was first introduced last year and would prohibit online gambling from being offered by operators who are unlicensed in Australia. The bill was able to pass a third reading late last month and punishments were put in place in regards to operators who would break the new regulations. This would include IP address blocking, civil penalties or a blacklist that includes the unlicensed offenders. In the past, operators were able to offer services due to loopholes in regulations, which will now be closed with the new regulations.
It does not seem that the bill will be voted on before May, which is when the next governmental session will take place in Australia. PokerStars would most likely be the next brand to remove services from the country, having stated that they would exit Australia if the bill was enacted. For now, it seems players in Australia will still be able to take part in the Spring Championship of Online Poker via PokerStars as it is set to take place beginning in late April and extending into May.