Online poker has been taking the world by storm for the last few years, proposing tremendously opportunistic availabilities for skilled players to make a substantial amount of money. At the same time, it has shaped an entire industry that generates hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue every single year in Australia alone.
Online poker was particularly popular but, in August 2017 this changed when online poker became illegal in Australia. This happened as a consequence of the enforcement of the Interactive Gambling Amendment Bill.
Below we will elaborate on the reasons behind this turn of events that complicated the playing of online poker down under and relegated Australians to the same position as players in America.
But first, we bring you an update with more pleasing news: even with the enforcement of this bill, there ARE still some online real money casinos in Australia where you can play without using a VPN. Ignition Casino is one of these.
Ignition Casino is a relatively new online casino, established in 2016 for US players only and opening its doors to Australian players in July 2017. It is fully certified and regulated by the Kahnawake Gaming Commission. They have a dedicated poker room that you can download onto your desktop or enjoy instant play from your mobile device. Here you can join numerous real-money poker tournaments and choose from a wide selection of poker tables to play at. Payouts at Ignition are fast and you can enjoy a $2,350 welcome bonus.
Australian Online Poker: What Happened?
Back to the online poker ban - it goes without saying that the prohibition of online poker was far from being the actual intention when it comes to the introduction of the IGA. The intent that this regulation had was to prohibit unlicensed sports betting operators from allegedly and conveniently targeting customers from Australia. At the same time, companies in Australia who were able to take bets within should have an Australian license.
However, the government does not license online poker but only sports betting. With this said, poker websites such as 888 and PokerStars had no other legitimate option but to quickly withdraw their services. With this in mind, legitimate companies could actually operate amid certain legal ambiguities which took place in the country without having to put gambling licenses and online gaming in any jeopardy in any other jurisdictions.
Now, however, there has been a definitive recognition when it comes to the enforcement of the ban and online poker players in the country have been far less protected. The majority of respectable and trusted operators have been steering away from the country under the fear of serious charges and potential claims.
The Quick Fix For Australian Online Poker
The week following the ban, however, introduced a swift proposal that offered the aggrieved poker players a brand new and fresh hope for a very quick fix.
Communications Minister Mitch Fifield announced that the government was actually disposed of in a favourable manner to the proper idea of quickly licensing online poker. The minister also said that he has put the entire department to start working on the preliminary research regarding the actual feasibility and merit of a move of this kind.
The field also relayed this particular information in a letter that was addressed to David Leyonhjelm, a senator from the Liberal Democrat Party. The latter has been conveniently championing the entire cause of online poker in the country since it was actually clear that there was a ban coming on the cards.
“I believe we have won the ‘in-principle’ battle,” Leyonhjelm said this week. “The question now will be how to make it happen in practice.” These are the actual words of the Senator. He has also gone viral with his statement to “screw the government, get a VPN”, as a chance for poker players to continue doing what they do without being affected by this fairly obvious and rather unintentional mess.
Well, for one thing, we will surely see an increase in the usage of VPNs for the time being. These are known to help different players from the entire world to conveniently circumvent the restrictions which are based on geography. They are also something that violates the TOS agreements of a lot of poker sites but this doesn’t really stop the majority of players from doing so.
Even though Leyonhjelm had been quite affected in a rather emotional sense by the turn of events, he had switched his tone to a more reputable one, claiming that there is a clear necessity for the establishment of a regulated authority such as the UK Gambling Commission. To quote his own words:
“Australian online poker players deserve to have a safe, regulated environment in which to enjoy their pastime and not be forced into using offshore sites,” he said. “I will make sure this matter maintains momentum.”
So, for the time being, we are left with legislation that obviously prohibits online poker players from Australia from playing on their favourite sites.
With this said, there are a few things that you can do if you are affected by this. First, you can temporarily switch to other activities like online Omaha Poker which is essentially just as interesting and profitable. If you like to win online poker games, this could be a great choice.
With this said, it is also important to understand that this is something that is very unlikely to last. It is supposed to be fixed as quickly as possible in order to ensure that players are able to get back to their regular habits of playing one of the most popular online games out there.
This is something that has taken the entire poker community in Australia by storm and it is obvious that major politicians and entire departments are taking it seriously. There are serious claims and political promises involved and these are not to be taken lightly. The situation is going to get resolved, it is only a matter of time. For this time, if you are willing to use a VPN, you should be concerned with the violations that it imposes. The alternative is clear – you can take advantage of other available online games and play at accepted casinos or at casinos like Ignition that continue to offer online poker to Australian players.