The Senate Standing Committees on Environment and Communications recently released a new report covering online poker legislation. The report titled Participation of Australians in Online Poker has acknowledged that the game is not as addictive as other online gaming options but legalization of the game would not be provided in the country until more research can be conducted to determine the benefits and risks to players.
In Australia, online poker and casino gaming sites have been pulling their services from the country since last year. The latest to leave was partypoker, with major operators not wanting to remain in the country after legislative changes were made. Once the Interactive Gambling Amendment Bill 2016 was approved by the government, Governor-General Peter Cosgrove decided to provide Royal Assent, which means that online gaming is officially prohibited nationwide.
The report that was released involved findings and recommendations by the special committee for the future of online poker in the country. Members of the committee stated that the online gaming ban has impacted many players ability to earn an income, which is a negative outcome of the legislative changes. These players could easily turn to a black market to play poker in order to be able to continue their employment.
The report further states that with legalization and then regulation of online poker, a black market would be prevented from growing further and players would be at less risk of fraud and other crimes related to unregulated gaming offerings.
Hundreds of online poker players submitted information for the report, with some stating the game is one of skill, while some argue it is a mix of skill and chance. Players also pointed out the game can be played for a longer period of time without spending too much money.
Now that the report has been published, it can be read here. The committee members are recommending that research is completed to collect enough evidence to show the effects and impact of online poker. The report advises that the local market is not to be liberalized until the National Consumer Protection Framework is implemented. The committee also stated that the Australian Department of Social Services needs to start study to review the benefits from the current ban that is in place and the potential benefits to the legalization of online poker gaming.
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