Tough Times Ahead For Australian Online Poker PlayersNovember 23, 2016 10:46 am
Although Australia is a grey market as far as online gambling is concerned, over the years the industry has continued to boom on the wealthy Australasian continent. That may all be about to change, though, if the federal government succeeds in amending the country’s Interactive Gambling Act of 2001.
Introduced on November 10th, the Interactive Gambling Amendment Bill 2016 is part of a concerted effort by authorities to crackdown on international gambling companies offering their products in Australia without a license. The stakes couldn’t be much higher for those firms already flaunting the country’s gambling rules, either, as the bill envisages fining them up to $4.9 million per day for their activities, while for individuals that fine is reduced slightly to $1 million per day.
If passed, the bill will subsequently enable the Australian Communications and Media Authority the ability to impose these penalties on offenders, rather than having to rely on the Australian Federal Police for assistance. Commenting on the development, Alan Tudge, Minister for Human Services, explained:
“We expect online wagering providers to meet community expectations. The tougher laws will seriously disrupt illegal offshore providers from acting unscrupulously or targeting vulnerable Australians. The government is committed to taking tougher action against illegal offshore wagering providers and this bill does exactly that.”
One of the gambling companies already active in Australia is PokerStars, and needless to say the world’s biggest poker site has started weighing its options carefully. If the brand does decide to exit the market it will prove a huge blow to the country’s poker community, and may result in a similar situation to what happened in the USA post-Black-Friday. Furthermore, the impact may also be felt in the global market as a whole, as despite having a population of just 23 million people, Australia is one of the world’s richest countries with a GDP average of $44,073,81 per person.