Australian Online Casinos Exit Market
The passing of the Interactive Gambling Amendment Bill in August this year has started to show its full impact now as more and more top online casinos withdraw their business from the Australian market. The bill was introduced last year in November and it is an amendment and revision of the 2001 bill that has now come to the final stages of being implemented.
Last month the Bill was approved by Governor General Peter Cosgrove and will soon be passed into law. This law seeks to tighten the current restrictions in place on offshore online service operators. Part of the online services included here is of course online casino gaming including online poker
Amazingly the government wishes to introduce new system for land based gaming where players must now use a cashless token system. Anti gambling groups who were cheering with the introduction of the Interactive Gambling bill now are shaking their heads since they see this new system is seen as aiding problem gambling rather than addressing it.
The cashless system has been in place at the land based Crown Casino for many years and more and more operators are seemingly showing interest in adopting this system.
Questioning The Wisdom Of The Law
Australia incorporates some of the strictest gaming laws in the world but this new bill seems to be crossing a line. Many online casinos are already participating in problem gambling awareness programs and they often provide support for members who are having issues with their gambling.
Furthermore many online casinos offer their members much better value in their gaming when compared to the land based conglomerates that dominate the Australian gaming market. Players have their power of choice taken away with this new bill, not to mention the lost business for the country. Following the news of the amendment bill, major online gaming operators started cancelling new memberships and asking members to start withdrawing their funds. Major players leaving the country include PokerStars.com, 32Red, Vera&John, PartyPoker, 888 Poker and many others.
They are leaving Australian players high and dry unfortunately. It seems this spells the end of the online gaming industry in Australia. Only the current land based monopoly in gaming is considered the legal way to enjoy real money betting.
In protecting supposed problem gamblers, the government has in fact negatively impacted the vast majority of gamblers who enjoy responsible gaming practices in a convenient online format. Certainly problem gambling will not be solved by the government’s sanctioning of the new cashless gaming system. Now online gaming operators are uprooting themselves and it is the consumers left to pick up the pieces in a once open and rewarding market.
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