Major online gambling companies are gearing up to withdraw from the Australian market to coincide with the legislation changes.
The Interactive Gambling Amendment bill 2016 made it through the Senate with secondary amendments and will face the lower house again.
If passed, the changes will be enforced and all offshore online casino operators which aren’t licensed in Australia will be required to block Australian players.
The reputable online casino site, 32Red, which is licensed by the Government of Gibraltar, has reportedly commenced the withdrawal process by announcing it will no longer take new Australian players – as of April 3, 2017.
The operator, which was acquired by the Kindred group earlier this year, emailed players to inform them its online casino, poker room, and sportsbook will soon be unavailable to Australian players.
Upon visiting the site, there is no longer the option to enable “English Australia” or view the promotions in AUD. The latter is still available for current members.
PokerStars, which has already confirmed it will leave once the Interactive Gambling Act 2001 is amended, is offering players one last chance to compete in the Spring Championship of Online Poker (SCOOP) before exiting.
The bill with amendments was meant to be discussed during last week’s House of Representatives sitting but it was delayed. It will more than likely be reviewed during the next parliamentary sitting in May.
After House approval, it will need to gain Royal Assent so the legislation isn’t likely to be enforced until June.
This does give online poker players the chance to play at the reputable site for a few more months before their accounts will be shut down.
The email sent out by PokerStars, which is adored by Australians all over the country, promised players that their money is safe and praised the Australian Online Poker Alliance (AOPA) for their attempts to save the Internet pastime.
The bill was created by Australian Human Services Minister, Alan Tudge, to combat the issue of offshore online gambling operators offering their services to Aussies, without a license. While it does block unlicensed providers it doesn’t offer a solution for operators to apply for a license in the country.
This means verified operators, such as 32Red and PokerStars, are withdrawing and illegal black market operators will still be on offer harming the public due to the lack of protection in place.
There will be more and more reputable operators withdrawing over the next few months which we endeavour to keep you updated on so you can arrange to get any funds withdrawn.
Senator David Leyonhjelm was one of the few politicians fighting for the public’s right to gamble legally online, introducing a secondary amendment to specifically save online poker and blackjack.
Unfortunately, it failed and Australians are left to follow his initial advice to “screw the government and get a VPN”.