888poker has ultimately decided to leave the Aussie market for good in order to avoid a potential US$5 million fine, that is, if the new gaming law will successfully be implemented in the country. 888poker players in Australia have been recently informed that they shall no longer be allowed to play on their website starting January 16, 2017.
Here's what their email message entails, "Following a business reevaluation, we'd like to inform you that 888poker's services are not being offered to players residing in Australia and therefore your account will be closed as of 01/16/2017. You can still withdraw funds from your bankroll at any time using our web cashier. Please check your email for more information."
The main reason for this ill-timed exit is due to the proposed amendment made to Interactive Gambling Act of 2001 that most people expect to be passed very soon in Australia. If it does pass, the Interactive Gambling Amendment Bill 2016 states that all online gambling operators that offer services to the residents of Australia must secure local licenses or be prepared to face exorbitant fines as high as A$6.75 million (US$5.05 million). Simply put, get a license or else, pay a fine.
Traditionally a peak time for online poker players, with the Aussie Millions in full swing at Crown Casino, there is a looming feeling of dread amongst new and regular players.
Furthermore, 888poker will be discontinuing offering their services to player residents of Slovenia as well.
As for now, it is still legal to play online poker via offshore-based websites; however, these new measures, once passed, would see gambling site operators getting fined as high as $1 million per day just by offering their services to Australians.
Under the new gambling laws, this would mean that the only legal kinds of online wagering would be lotteries and sports betting which are licensed in an Australian state.