Australia faces regulatory overhaul as Senate passes bill

11 August 2017

The Australian Senate has moved to pass an updated version of the Interactive Gambling Amendment Bill, which is set to introduce a number of new regulations and restrictions for online gaming operators in the country.

First submitted to the Senate in November last year, the bill includes legislation that bans all remote operators from offering online poker and in-play sports betting services to punters in Australia.

Operators have been providing in-play betting via a technical loophole where players could place in-play wagers via telephone, rather than online.

The amended bill sets out restrictions that require overseas operators to hold a licence under State of Territory laws in order to offer online gambling services in Australia.

In addition, the Australian Communications and Media Authority will now have the power to issue new civil penalties and oversee the entire complaint handling process.

Other measures that now look set to come into effect include placing offshore directors from operators that breach regulations on a ‘Movement Alert List’, so that they are unable to freely travel to Australia.

Following the passing of the bill, the amendments will be introduced from this September.

The approval comes after a late effort by the Australian Online Poker Alliance (AOPA) to fight for legal internet poker in the country fell short.

The AOPA, along with Senator David Leyonhjelm, had presented their case at a hearing earlier this month, but the Senate’s passing of the bill seemingly ends any remaining hope of a u-turn on the new restrictions.

However, speaking on behalf of the AOPA, Joseph Del Duca urged online poker players in the country not to give up hope.

“Whilst it was unfortunate that the government did not wait for the Senate Inquiry findings to come through, we urge Australian poker players to not give up hope,” Del Duca said, according to Pokernews.com

“Our game is not dead and we will continue to campaign for safe, legal online poker when the Senate Inquiry is handed down.

“Our call for a safe, regulated online poker market in Australia is still the only option that provides freedom for players, revenue for the government and protection for those in need.”

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