International edition
September 25, 2020

"Gray market"

Online poker players could be "blocked" if Australia's new gambling legislation goes through

Online poker players could be
PokerStars, one of the leading web-based poker operators in the world, may cease to offer its services on the Australian market if the country’s new anti-gambling legislation comes into effect.
Australia | 11/21/2016

PokerStars, one of the leading web-based poker operators in the world, may cease to offer its services on the Australian market if the country’s new anti-gambling legislation comes into effect.

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maya, the parent company of the PokerStars brand, confirmed Australian online poker players may be blocked from using its services provided that the proposed amendments to the online gambling law pass.

Until now, Australia was considered a “gray market” for online casino operators as gambling on the web was neither expressly illegal nor legal. However, this will no longer be the case if the country’s new legislation is adopted.

The new amendment to the Interactive Gambling Act of 2011 was introduced in the Australian parliament last week.

The amendment’s ratification would eventually lead to a crackdown on unlicensed gambling providers, PokerStars included

Australian officials commented on the subject and confirmed the country’s government plans on taking strict measures to prevent unlicensed offshore gaming providers from offering their products to Australian players. According to the officials, this is exactly what the introduction of the amendment aims at.

It appears PokerStars is inclined towards leaving the Australian market and its 24-million population if the new legislation is enacted. The contribution of the country’s market towards Amaya’s revenue amounts to 2.5%. Daniel Sebag, Chief Financial Officer of Amaya, commented on the issue during an earnings call.

Sebag said PokerStars is currently offering its products in Australia but Amaya is reviewing the applicability of the proposed amendment to player-versus-player games of skill.

Sebag confirmed the company is likely to block poker players from the land Down Under should the new legislation pass

If PokerStars proceeds to operate unlicensed in Australia after the new legislation goes through, the poker provider risks parting with its licenses in other jurisdictions like New Jersey. Amaya has already spent millions in attempts to return to the regulated U.S. market. Its efforts finally came to fruition in March when PokerStars was launched in New Jersey.

PokerStars’ parent company recently announced it is planning to introduce its products on another regulated market – that of Portugal. It becomes evident the company aims at expanding its offerings on regulated markets and obtaining a license seems to be the only way for PokerStars to operate legally in the land Down Under.

However, obtaining licenses in Australia for the majority of online gambling operations is impossible as the Interactive Gaming Act allows for limited forms of sports betting and lotteries only. Other gambling operations, such as online casino games and poker, are strictly prohibited by the Act.

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