Senator David Leyonhjelm Positive That Online Poker Will Return T

Posted by Carolyn on Sep 15, 2017 Posted in Poker News | No Comments »

The Interactive Gambling Amendment Bill 2016 was passed by the Australian Senate last month, effectively burying online poker in Australia. The Government quickly passed the bill despite lobbying efforts from Australian Online Poker Alliance (AOPA), Sen. David Leyonhjelm and poker players in support of the game during a formal inquiry set in motion by Leyonhjelm.

International Operators Exit

The Interactive Gambling Amendment Bill 2016 mandates that online gaming operators offering services to Australian residents secure local licenses or face steep fines as high as A$6.75 million ($5.05 million). This has forced international operators such as PokerStars and 888poker to reevaluate their business in Australia and make a decision to pull out of the market. PokerStars, in an email informed its players that would stop real money poker play at its tables from September.

Sen. Leyonhjelm has always maintained that the ban on online poker was hypocritical and infringes on states’ rights to decide on gambling. Despite the setback, Leyonhjelm continued to lobby support for the regulation and continued ongoing negotiations going on with Communications Minister Mitch Fifield.

The Senator’s efforts resulted in a major breakthrough as he received a letter from the Communications Minister on September 12 informing him that he had instructed his department to look at the feasibility to obtain licenses for Australian onshore providers to operate online poker websites.

Leyonhjelm Remains Positive

AOPA founder Joseph Del Duca stated that he was pleased to hear that the Communications Minister was looking to regulate a safe online poker market in Australia. A Senate committee is now examining the merits of the ban. Leyonhjelm also received a show of support when Minister Alan Tudge who led the charge to ban online poker changed his stance and indicated that he would now support the online poker industry.

In an email to PokerNews, Leyonhjelm has written that it’s agreed in principle to resume online poker and details needed to be worked out in terms of sorting out state and federal jurisdictional matters. Leyonhjelm also added in his email that the term ‘onshore’ referred to operators in Australia who would be subject to Australian law, enabling taxation and player safety. However, it’s still not clear what this means for international operators such as PokerStars and 888poker who exited the market due to the bill.

AOPA founder Joseph Del Duca echoed Leyonhjelm’s sentiments stating that Australian online poker players should not be forced to use offshore sites and they deserved a regulated environment to play. Senator Leyonhjelm promised to continue to work with the government to and look to bring online poker back to Australia.

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