Aussie Senator Offers Online Poker Players Unusual AdviceFebruary 23, 2017 11:09 am
Australia is on the brink of experiencing its own Black-Friday scenario after the government introduced its new Interactive Gambling Amendment Bill that seeks to make playing on unlicensed gambling and poker sites a crime punishable by hefty fines. If the law is passed, these massive penalties can reach up to A$6.75 million per day for operators, and A$1.35 million per day for individuals.
Against this backdrop, a grass-roots organization called the Australian Online Poker Alliance (AOPA) has sprung up, while other advocates of online poker have also lent their support to keeping the game available to Aussie citizens. One such person is Liberal Democrat Senator David Leyonhjelm, who recently posted a video on his Facebook account stating that he was currently speaking to Australia´s Minister for Human Services, Alan Tudge, in an attempt to get him to change his mind on the new piece of legislation.
Senator Leyonhjelm further advised poker enthusiasts to write to Minister Tudge voicing their opposition to the bill, but also stated that if all else failed they should “screw the Government. Get yourself a VPN and an offshore account”.
While a VPN, or virtual private network, would allow players to circumvent geographical location restrictions, many of the bigger sites have imposed penalties on those players looking to use VPNs, especially to access the US market. This includes PokerStars, which also reserves the right to confiscate funds and impose a life-time ban.
Other issues are also likely to emerge for those players not deterred by potential punitive measures, such as having to provide a physical address for their locations, and bank details for deposits and cash outs. Therefore, one can say that the minister’s advise would appear to be more than a little unconventional given the facts. In the meantime, some of the world’s biggest poker operators are not taking any chances and have already abandoned the Australian market, including 888poker and PartyPoker, with PokerStars expected to soon follow suit.