Australian Senate moves to shut down poker & in-play betting services

The Australian Senate has moved to revamp and amend the nation’s ‘Interactive Gambling Bill’, adding a number of new provisions and restrictions for internet gambling service providers.

This Wednesday, the Senate approved the passing of its ‘2016 Amendment Bill’ seeking to overhaul a number of provisions within Australia’s existing ‘2001 Interactive Gambling Bill’.

The new provisions have been designed to ‘close loopholes’, which have allowed remote gambling operators to provide online poker and in-play sports betting services.  Amendment Bill backers stated that ‘home and foreign’ operators could no longer take advantage of ‘grey areas within Australian betting laws’.

The introduced amendments focus on the following three key areas:

  • The Bill will change the law to make it clear that it’s illegal for overseas gambling companies to offer services to Australians unless they hold a license under State or Territory laws.
  • The Bill gives the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) the power to issue new civil penalties that will complement existing Australian Federal Police criminal penalties powers. Additionally, it will put the ACMA in charge of the entire complaint handling process from receipt to enforcement.
  • The Bill will introduce other disruption measures to curb illegal offshore gambling activity, such as placing offending company directors on the Movement Alert List so that they can’t freely travel to Australia.

Having gained its Senate approval, the new amendments will begin to be enforced this September. Industry business news sources have stated that the new provisions will effectively end online poker within the Australian market.

The government continues its stance against in-play sports betting mechanisms being made available to Australian consumers, in which Australian law makers have banned in-play wagers and cash-out functionalities popular in western markets.