PokerStars have announced their intention to withdraw their services offerings from Australia if the Interactive Gambling Amendment Bill bans all online gaming sites. A message from the largest online poker site, PokerStars, was sent to Australian account holders with the sombre news.
As quoted in the message as received by PMA:
“You may have heard about the Interactive Gambling Amendment Bill (2016) that is currently being reviewed by the Australian parliament. We want to keep you informed.
“If passed, the Bill will ban all online gambling sites that are not locally licensed under Australian State or Territory law. The Australian Government’s intention is to keep the online community safe, which is a goal PokerStars commends. Unfortunately, there is no framework currently for poker operators like us to be locally licensed and the Bill will all but end the offering of real money online poker to Australians.”
The message went on to say, “PokerStars is the most regulated poker site in the world and currently offers poker to customers through its Isle of Man global gaming license. PokerStars always seeks to comply with local regulations, so if the proposed amendments in the Bill pass into law you will likely be blocked from playing for real money on our site. We will continue to offer free-to-play services such as Jackpot Poker to the extent that it is legal for us to do so.
“As always, we will continue to keep you informed. Whatever happens, your funds will remain secure and accessible for withdrawal.”
Other online poker sites including 888poker, have already pulled out of the Australian market in anticipation of the imminent changes to the local gambling laws. Once widely promoted by spin-king Shane Warne, 888poker confirmed their services would not be available from January 16, 2017.
Australian poker players have been part of this issue for some time but not directly affected due to the gray laws that were in place. However, with these likely changes, the rules will become black and white. Poker enthusiast Joseph Del Duca recently formed the Australian Online Poker Alliance to combat the rule changes. Del Duca has been lobbying government and trying to gather the support of local poker players to promote his movement to save online poker in Australia.