Last year in Australia, a new bill was introduced titled the Interactive Gambling Amendment Bill 2016. This measure was created to put an end to ‘loopholes’ within legislation that allowed online poker to take place in the country for many years. When the legislation was first introduced, gambling operators offering their services in the country began to pull out, including Vera&John last year and 888poker earlier this year. More operators are sure to begin shutting down services in the country now after the bill was passed in the Senate this past Tuesday.
According to a report by Huffington Post Australia, the Senate voted in approval of the measure on Tuesday which will lead to online poker being nonexistent in the country. Two years ago, a study was conducted that found illegal gambling was taking place and recommendations were made to close the loopholes that allowed citizens of Australia to play poker via offshore platforms.
The new legislation states that online poker companies cannot offer their services to Australians unless they are licensed to do so. There is currently no licensing or regulations in place for online poker in the country. Online sports betting will also see new restrictions in place thanks to the new legislation.
Liberal Democrats Senator David Leyonhjelm has been a strong opponent of the amendment, claiming that the changes to be made are unnecessary as well as ineffective. In 2001, the Interactive Gambling Act was created to outlaw online gambling but was seemingly ineffective. The 2016 bill was supposed to close loopholes that allowed such gaming to take place. Leyonhjelm stated that the 2001 law was supposed to stop several kinds of online gambling but it didn’t, due to a loophole. The Senator says that there is an active online poker community in the country and he does not feel that the new legislation will succeed for those who are determined to play.
When speaking to the Huffington Post Australia, Leyonhjelm stated that the new bill is stupid. There are lots of opportunities to play poker in Australia, including tournaments and at casinos. The Senator said that poker is taking place already and this new bill is just stopping what is taking place online, while the whole world is online now.
The Senator further stated that the new bill will promote the black market and people will gamble using foreign providers using various means, with players being ripped off with no action taken as recourse.
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