The Australian gambling market has been literally shaken by the newest amendments the local Government is making to the country’s gambling legislation. At the beginning of August 2017, the Interactive Gambling Amendment Bill 2016, which is aimed to eliminate online poker from the gambling options that are legally offered in the country, was officially given the green light by the Australian Senate after being put to the vote.
Since then, a great number of local poker players and operators have shared their concerns with the situation, saying that the new rules could cause more trouble than actually help. The changes in Australia’s gambling legislation would force foreign gambling companies to operate in line with the new regulatory amendments, with the new rules suspending them from offering their services to local online poker players.
For some time now, Australian authorities have been focused on closing the existing loophole which allowed foreign operators to offer local customers various games through their mobile applications. However, under the amendments made in the Interactive Gambling Amendment Bill 2016, off-shore operators will be banned from offering iGaming services on the territory of Australia.
In spite of the fact that the Government is seeking to tighten the online gambling regime in the country in order to better protect its players, what it did is to actually shake the local market, as a large number of reputable and respected licensed operators chose to exit the country.
Large iGaming Brands Leaving Australian Market
The decision of the Australian Government to make such serious amendments to the existing gambling legislation has led to many online gambling brands leaving the market, despite the fact that they are reputable and run under an operating license. A large number of local players have said how disappointed they were with the operators’ decision to stop offering their services in the country.
Online bingo operator Vera&John was the first international brand that officially announced its decision to withdraw its operations from the Australian market in December 2016.
The company made the announcement of its exodus right after the new amendments bill introduced. The exit took effect immediately, and the transactions and deposits were blocked in only a week after the brand made its announcement.
888poker became the second brand that revealed its choice to depart from the Australian poker market in the middle of January 2017. At the time, the poker brand of 888 Holdings shared that Australian customers would no longer be provided with access to their services.
The brand game its local customers a short notice on the decision, with an e-mail being sent to inform them for the departure.
Later, at the beginning of April 2017, 32Red joined the off-shore online gambling operators who made their choice and exit the Australian market. The company revealed its plans to gradually withdraw its offerings from the country due to the new piece of legislation prohibiting foreign gambling operators to offer their services to local players.
A couple of days ago, the online poker card room brand partypoker also revealed that Australian gambling legislation that is expected to change the country’s market environment made it decide to leave the country as well.
According to the brand’s announcement, partypoker will not be available to local customers as of August 31st. The operator further explained that its players based in Australia would be able to safely withdraw the deposited funds from their accounts.
PokerStars has become the latest brand to announce that it is to shut its operations for Australian players. The withdrawal from the local online gambling market is to take effect on September 11th.
The announcement took place after the global poker brand revealed in the middle of August that it was making preparations to make an official departure from the country in about a month. After making a decision on the exact date for this to happen, PokerStars announced its decision and informed its customers in Australia that they will no longer be available to use its services there.
What Is to Follow for Local Customers?
As mentioned above, the Australian Government has been primarily focused on closing some existing loopholes in order to protect local customers from any wrongdoings related to online poker and online gambling operations as a whole. It is true that illegal gambling services are currently very easy to access on the Internet, but some market experts have already shared their concerns about such a closure of the Australian gambling market.
The new rules implemented in the new gambling legislation have already made some of the biggest global gaming brands leave the local market, leaving Australian customers to some smaller or unlicensed brands that could not guarantee them safety. As they say, the road to hell is paved with good intentions, so for some experts this is an indisputable sign that the country have taken the road to grey economy.
Apart from probably losing massive amount of money after creating an environment that would actually be quite favourable for unmonitored and completely unregulated online gambling brands that would operate out of law, targeting local customers. After the Australian market is finally closed to off-shore online gambling and poker operators, local players will not be given the chance to legally place their bets on online gambling websites, which would automatically make them target of black market operators that would not be monitored and controlled in any way. In any way, local customers would be hit by some negative consequences, with fairness and transparency of such gambling operations put at stake.