«Poker News from Australia: the Deadline Has Passed

Online poker is in big danger in Australia. The local government is strictly against gambling in the country, so it banned online poker. Some people, who love and understand this game, could submit their opinion about irrationality of this act, and now the deadline for them have passed. At the moment the fate of online poker is in the hands of people who hardly know anything about this game.

It’s sad, but we probably may say goodbye to online poker in Australia. However, it still has some chances for resurrection. Joseph Del Duca, founder of AOPA (Australian Online Poker Alliance) is trying his best to enliven online poker, and his friends are helping him in this recovery.

It all began in March 2017, when federal parliament of Australia plugged some important leaks in the Interactive Gambling Act of 2001. Earlier Australian punters could bet on various sporting events during play, but now it’s forbidden. Unfortunately the same forbiddance concerns poker as well, because parliament people seem to know quite little about difference between poker and other sports. They think that bets, which are taken on the turn, flop and river in an online poker game, can be considered in-play gambling as well.

Major online poker websites, including partypoker and 888Poker, understood the situation correctly and left Australia as fast as possible, PokerStars company is going to follow their example. Joseph Del Duca created his organization in order to express his stubborn resistance, and David Leyonhjelm, Australia’s Liberal Democrat Senator, refuted mentioning of online poker in the context of the new bill, because this would only bring profit to offshore operators. He also managed to convince representatives of Australian parliament that it was necessary to revisit their decision to kill online poker in the country. Finally they agreed to review opinions and facts against banning online poker until July, 21.

This day has passed.

According to AOPA about 200 submissions were made in defense of Australian online poker. This amount includes a submission from Dr Sally Gainsbury, a lecturer of Sydney University. She is an expert in the gambling sphere and she’s doing everything possible to convince the Parliament that online poker is not the biggest problem in gambling of Australia.

We have looked through some submissions, defending online poker, and that’s what we understood:

1. Australian gamblers are adult enough to decide what to do with their own money, if it doesn’t make any harm on other people;

2. Companies, providing online poker to Australian gamblers, should pay for this right, and this payment will be a decent revenue stream, going to the local government;

3. The world may suffer from many problems, created by online gambling, and online poker is the least problem among them;

4. Online poker can be called a skill-based game, it doesn’t operate versus the house, but on the peer-to-peer basis;

5. It’s impossible to prohibit online poker, people will always find their way to play. Australia may have a decently regulated online poker, or the country can suffer from offshore operators.

PokerStars company has been supporting AOPA very actively, but it’s unclear if they were allowed to supply their submission. And if they were, did they use this allowance?

Now the Parliament has to review the following questions:

1. What part of online poker does Australia take?

2. What positive and negative consequences can follow participation in online poker? Can this game bring any social or personal benefits or harms?

3. Do the amendments to the Interactive Gambling Act of 2001 correspond with the existing benefits or harms, which are consequences of participating in online poker? Is it a proportional and reasonable answer?

The Parliament is expected to answer those questions in September, 2017.

Meanwhile, Ignition Casino, based in Costa-Rica, announced willingness to move into the grey market because of the existing mess. So it’s going to offer online casino and poker games to Australian gamblers almost illegally.

According to Michael Josem, who used to work for PokerStars company, Mitch Fifield, Australian Senator, considers online poker illegal. He says that Australian government is not going to liveralise online poker in the nearest future.

In the current situation Australian gamblers have nothing to do but to pray that Parliament and Government of their country will review submissions in defense of online poker and change their minds.

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