It has been a bad week for online gamers down under, as the Australian federal parliament banned online poker once and for all. The country has moved to outlaw online gambling before, but loopholes still existed. So rather than move forward with a Senate bill that attempted to tighten regulations, the Interactive Gambling Amendment Bill 2016 prevents playing all together.
In-play sports betting has also been outlawed, following recommendations from the Review of Illegal Offshore Wagering in 2015.
But not everyone is on board with the new law. Senator David Leyonhjelm told Huffington Post Australia that the band is “stupid.”
“If you want to play poker, there are lots of opportunities in Australia, at casinos and tournaments,” he said. “It’s not as if there isn’t a great deal of poker playing already, but they’re just stopping it online. The whole world is online now.”
Originally, it was the 2001 Interactive Gambling Act that first aimed to rid Australia of online gaming, including poker, blackjack and roulette. The new amendment virtually closes all loopholes, however, and even eliminates the click-to-call services that are prevalent on many sports betting sites.
Leyonhjelm says he fears the ban will only encourage underground betting and that an unregulated market could end up hurting consumers.
“It will promote the black market. There are ways to circumvent these prohibition approaches,” he said. “People will gamble using foreign providers by various means. They will be in the hands of sometimes shady providers, and if they get ripped off, they will have no recourse.”
Photo credit: Frederico Cintra (flickr) [https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/]
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