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  1. #1
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    Default Australia bans online poker and live sports betting

    The Senate of the Australian government passed amendments to gambling laws to close loopholes and ban online poker and in-play sports betting on Tuesday.

    Despite the vote, opinion on the Interactive Gambling Amendment Bill 2016 is still largely divided, as Liberal Democrats senator David Leyonhjelm told The Huffington Post Australia.

    It's stupid, he said. "If you want to play poker, there are lots of opportunities in Australia, at casinos and tournaments. Its not as if there isn't a great deal of poker playing already, but they're just stopping it online. The whole world is online now."

    Leyonhjelm said that the online poker community in Australia had been utilising a loophole and claimed that the changes are unnecessary and ineffective.
    Read more here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com.au/201...ng_a_21903788/

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    Is this final for Australian market?

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    MJM
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    I wonder how many operators will exit the market, how incredibly short sighted.

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    MMM
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    Most of them. That's why we have many US facing programs launch Aussie brands over the past few months.
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    It will create a vacuum in the Aussie market assuming the government actually enforces the bill when passed. But it seems the house of representatives still need to vote on the bill before it is passed and this could be in the next few months. But it will be interesting to see how many gaming and payment providers pull out of the market.

    The nail in the coffin for the remaining offshore operators will be when the payment providers pull out. But many of them still provide their services to unlicensed operators without spoofing the credit card codes in France, Singapore and other grey to black markets. So it will be interesting to see what happens.
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    Quote Originally Posted by MMM View Post
    Most of them. That's why we have many US facing programs launch Aussie brands over the past few months.
    That explain a lot.

  8. #7
    Muppet is offline Private Member
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    Once again the reporting on this shows a complete lack of understanding of what is going on here.

    Contrary to the "fake news" headline here, Australia did not just ban online poker and live sports betting.

    It has been illegal under the Interactive Gambling Act since 2001 for any unlicensed operator to accept Australian customers. That has not changed.

    There are no licensed poker or casino operators, but there are several for sports betting. It has never been illegal for an individual to play poker or gamble at a casino though and it still is not - the law is totally directed at operators. That has not changed.

    Online betting on a sport while it is in play has been illegal for a long time too. There is an exception that makes it legal to pick up the phone to place an in play bet. That has not changed.

    There is now a law in place to stop companies offering "click to call" buttons which skirted the law by enabling someone to click a button on the bookie's website that triggered an automated call where the punter more or less just had to say yes to confirm the bet details they entered on the website. This is one of the few things that is actually new.

    Even though it has been illegal for unlicensed operators to accept Australians since 2001, no-one has ever been charged or prosecuted. The amendment gives power to ACMA to pursue operators that break the law with civil actions, and to pass on operator details to immigration should they ever try to enter the country. This is new.

    So to summarise:
    1. It is and always has been illegal since 2001 for operators to provide online poker or casino games to Australians.
    2. From a player's POV it is legal to play anywhere they want so long as the operator will let them.
    3. "Click to call" sports betting workarounds are now illegal. Players can still place in play bets over the phone.
    4. There are new penalties and empowerment for a government department that might actually try enforcing the laws that could have been enforced for the past 16 years anyway if anyone could have been bothered.

    I cannot understand why online casino and poker operators are panicking about this. They have been knowingly breaking the law here for 16 years without care. None of their Australian customers can get into trouble for playing at their sites. And unless the operator plans on holidaying in Australia any time soon the Australian government is powerless and there is basically nothing the amendment does that changes the situation for them at all.

    Its all a bit mountains, molehills, storms, and teacups.

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  10. #8
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    Anyone can tell me how bookies like bet365 or sportsbet did live betting in AU? There was no in-play? Did they use the roundabout?
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    They pretty much all tried the workaround but they have all stopped it a few months ago. So now its all done over the phone.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Muppet View Post
    Its all a bit mountains, molehills, storms, and teacups.
    I hope your analysis is correct, 'cos that sounds okay and not very scary. I've been wondering about the AU situation recently. Regardless, this recent announcement doesn't seem to involve online casinos, from what you determine... again... hoping you are correct...

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    It is true but don't let that guide you to what the reaction will be. As you can see by this thread there is a lot of misinformation being communicated.

    Loads of sites have already closed their doors to Australians. I've been told that Microgaming will soon pull out and others will too despite them all knowingly breaking the law here since 2001. I fear that we're going to end up with a limited choice of unregulated and mostly shady RTG and Bitcoin only casinos and poker sites like the Americans, which does no-one any good.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Muppet View Post
    Contrary to the "fake news" headline here, Australia did not just ban online poker and live sports betting.
    It has been illegal under the Interactive Gambling Act since 2001 for any unlicensed operator to accept Australian customers. That has not changed.
    ...
    Its all a bit mountains, molehills, storms, and teacups.
    While I agree with your opening stanza and the general thrust that it's always been illegal ...
    This is a bit more than a molehill and/or storm in a teacup.

    Mainly because it gives new enforcement powers and new energy to the enforcement of the law ...

    Casino / poker and in-play sports betting is now clearly out-of-bounds for Australian citizens.
    And given operators recent proclivity to withdraw from newly "illegal" markets in Europe - they will probably do the same in Australia too.

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    I also hope that your analysis is correct. But on one hand its like you think nothing will happen but you also fear the worst.

    Even if we windup with a situation similar to France, that's actually not that bad.
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheGooner View Post
    Mainly because it gives new enforcement powers and new energy to the enforcement of the law ...

    Casino / poker and in-play sports betting is now clearly out-of-bounds for Australian citizens.
    And given operators recent proclivity to withdraw from newly "illegal" markets in Europe - they will probably do the same in Australia too.
    I disagree with that assessment. It is no more clearly out of bounds than it was last week, last year, or 5 years ago. The main effect of the amendment is to shift the responsibility for enforcing the law to another government department that supposedly is going to have a go at it. Presumably the reason most operators disregarded the law before is that the government never bothered enforcing it, probably because it is ineffectual against offshore operators. We aren't the USA with the willingness and ability to aggressively pursue people across the world. The penalties are civil in nature which means fines that no-one will ever pay unless they come to Australia to pay them.

    Mainly I am puzzled as to why so many of these companies and operators that have been willingly ignoring the law for so long are now suddenly so cowed. What exactly do they think the Australian government is going to do to them?

    Quote Originally Posted by WagerJoint View Post
    I also hope that your analysis is correct. But on one hand its like you think nothing will happen but you also fear the worst.

    Even if we windup with a situation similar to France, that's actually not that bad.
    I definitely do not think that nothing will happen. The choices for French punters are poor. Its not an example that I would cite as "not that bad". Australia is potentially going to end up even worse than that as there are no licensed online poker or casino operators and there will not be any for the foreseeable future.

    The effect is going to be the movement of Australian players from good sites with proper regulation and player protection mechanisms in place to shady unlicensed places. Only a fool or a politician (but I repeat myself!) would think that this will stop people playing since it isn't illegal for them to do so, and this thing called the internet doesn't stop at the border.

  19. #15
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    Sad news for my aussie friends.....

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    Sad News indeed but i believe Aussies will fight this tooth and nail Australia is a nanny state but are also clever and will one day realize there is money to be made by Taxing etc so will regulate correctly and make licences available i think it will happen for sure in that market

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    Quote Originally Posted by Muppet View Post
    Mainly I am puzzled as to why so many of these companies and operators that have been willingly ignoring the law for so long are now suddenly so cowed. What exactly do they think the Australian government is going to do to them?
    There are a couple of angles that you've skipped over.

    1/ Large operations offering sports in Australia.
    Outfits like Ladbrokes and Bet365 have an established Aussie presence for sports betting horse racing - they are therefore going to comply with all local gambling legislation including this short term duration stuff in order to keep their sports / horse licenses.

    2/ Large operations working in multiple licensed jurisdictions.
    If an organisation wants to remain / become UK licensed then they need to show that they are good character operators ... and that (probably) means not infringing on Australian gambling legislation that has now become high profile.

    Basically, if you want a license in Malta, UK or Gibraltar - then you had better not be openly flouting the legislation in other countries. I think that we are going to see significant cooperation and info sharing between nations with this. That's a huge potential risk.

    So - I think that these two groups are the mainstay of operations (and software providers) that are currently pulling out of Australia.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Miles_Videoslots View Post
    Sad News indeed but i believe Aussies will fight this tooth and nail Australia is a nanny state but are also clever and will one day realize there is money to be made by Taxing etc so will regulate correctly and make licences available i think it will happen for sure in that market
    The Australian public will not fight "tooth and nail" - online casino and poker is not established as part of the psyche compared to sports and horse betting. Australian's (and New Zealanders) have been subjected to a barrage of reports about online scams, online ripoffs, and people losing money .. they really is not much goodwill towards online casino evident.

    Australian legislators believe (rightly or wrongly) that they are already earning significant taxes through physical casinos and pokies ... and that the physical premises do a better job of preventing problem gambling than overseas companies.

    This is NOT a battle about gambling - that's an Aussie tradition - it's about what they call "short term" gambling that is deemed addictive and damaging without real world supervision.

    You might think that pokie machines in pubs and clubs are damaging too (I think you'd be right), but they have an established presence and have organised in a powerful and vocal lobby group to protect their existing patch ... while online groups just melted away.

    I don't see any sign of outrage on the streets of Sydney, Melbourne or Perth with this bill
    Last edited by TheGooner; 22 March 2017 at 7:11 am.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TheGooner View Post
    There are a couple of angles that you've skipped over.

    1/ Large operations offering sports in Australia.
    Outfits like Ladbrokes and Bet365 have an established Aussie presence for sports betting horse racing - they are therefore going to comply with all local gambling legislation including this short term duration stuff in order to keep their sports / horse licenses.
    The licensed bookies already cut off all their Australian poker and casino customers years ago before they gained their local sportsbetting licenses. Nothing changes for them other than they hope to gain more customers if people stop betting at offshore sites. They are actually one of the major campaigners behind this amendment as they want to protect their investment in licensing fees against unlicensed offshore competition, and understandably so.

    2/ Large operations working in multiple licensed jurisdictions.
    If an organisation wants to remain / become UK licensed then they need to show that they are good character operators ... and that (probably) means not infringing on Australian gambling legislation that has now become high profile.

    Basically, if you want a license in Malta, UK or Gibraltar - then you had better not be openly flouting the legislation in other countries. I think that we are going to see significant cooperation and info sharing between nations with this. That's a huge potential risk.
    This is a very good point.

    Quote Originally Posted by Miles_Videoslots View Post
    Sad News indeed but i believe Aussies will fight this tooth and nail Australia is a nanny state but are also clever and will one day realize there is money to be made by Taxing etc so will regulate correctly and make licences available i think it will happen for sure in that market
    TheGooner is right, that is not the reality at all. It won't happen. This amendment has the support of all the people that matter such as major political parties, anti-gambling campaigners, Christian conservatives, the clubs and hotels lobby who want to protect their investment in pub pokies that pay out ~85%, established land based casino owners, and the licensed online bookies. The only public person I have heard speak out against it is David Leyonhjelm (mentioned above) who is generally seen as an improperly elected, batshit-mental, climate change denialist, extreme libertarian who wants Australia to have American style gun laws and freedom to express hate speech. He may well be right on this issue but he is not the guy you want in your corner if you have a cause, in fact his support probably detracts from it.

    The general public (aside from the small minority of people that play poker or casino online already) could not care less and if pushed for an opinion would either support a total ban, or incorrectly assume that it is illegal for them to play online anyway. As usual in these things where it affects a small minority of people, the ones that are directly affected have virtually no say at all.

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    The Muppet is correct that there is little palate for this in the general community. Most simply don't care, and much like they people that voted on this in the Senate - they just don't understand. The only reason online poker is being reported as banned is that it is a better headline likely to reach more people than "online casinos banned".

    But to suggest this is more of the same and will have no effect is disastrously bad advice.

    Specifically all regulated sports, racing casino and poker operators in the major jurisdictions will be pressured to leave to maintain their existing licenses in those jurisdictions. That's a given.

    Additionally, the old IGA was targeted more at operators. The new reforms specifically contain provisions for affiliates, support centres, agents, associates and employees. On ascent of this bill it will be illegal for anyone to make or receive any commission or inducement to help facilitate or promote or advertise gambling operators that do not hold an Australian license. Of course it is impossible to obtain an Australian licence for anything other than sport, racing or lotto betting. And even Lottoland's licence looks set to be reviewed if not revoked.

    Affiliates are most definitely in the target sights. They will make an example of someone as the debate specifically raised the fact that no prosecutions have ever been laid in the IGA's 16 year existence. They will line someone up as proof they have the balls to follow through on the new laws.

    https://bettingsite.com.au/online-po...o-pass-senate/

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