The Australian Senate has given the approval for the Interactive Gambling Amendment Bill 2016 which effectively outlaws online poker from Australia's online entertainment landscape.
The bill was submitted to the senate last November by Minister for Human Services Alan Tudge. Included in the bill is legislation banning all internet gaming activities that have not been given permission by the new Interactive Gambling law.
Sports betting is permitted in the country, but only on bets placed on sports contest while the contests are being played. In-play sports betting is allowed, but only through telephone, not online.
Since smartphones are phones, offshore operators' uses apps to enable players to place in-game sports bet. This allowed such operators to get around the law. The intention of the law is to tighten loopholes existing through the law's vagaries. On the other hand, along with the strengthening of the loophole meant that other forms of internet gambling have also been eliminated.op
In some countries, poker is not explicitly legal. Neither is it technically illegal. This makes operators feel comfortable in offering poker.
The Interactive Gambling Amendment Bill 2016 outlaws all forms of online gambling that are not legal in Australia. Only sports betting are explicitly legal, and that poker is by default, illegal. Australian Senator David Leyonhjelm said that the law changes are "stupid" and that punters who want to continue playing will find other ways, even if it is outside of the legal system.
"It's stupid; if you want to play poker, there are lots of opportunities in Australia, at casinos and tournaments," Leyonhjelm 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.
"There is quite an active online poker community in Australia; I don't think it will succeed for those really determined.
"If you have a VPN or offshore account, you will still play. It's a stupid situation to be in."