Officials in Australia have finally been making moves to enforce new restrictions on online gambling. These new laws that are being put in place are shifting the Australian online gaming market from “grey to black”. This can cause PokerStars owners to face a very tough decision. Officials have jumped from blocking payments to illegal offshore operators to forbidding online in-play sports betting.
Former Barry O’Farrell was asked to manage a complete scale review of Australia’s Interactive Gambling Act in September of last year. The findings from him were released to the Department of Social Services. After they were released, an announced was made on Thursday that 18 of its 19 recommended courses would be maintained.
Also Australia will be looking down hard on live in-play betting that is done through licensed online operators. The Interactive Act of Gambling forbids in-play sports betting unless it is done through telephone or in person. William Hill introduced a mobile betting app that has voice recognition which technically circumvents the laws and other several operators like Bet365 and Landbrokes followed them.
Another recommendation that was agreed upon by the government to force a stronger enforcement of laws that already ban offshore betting operators from taking any bets from Australian punters. In order to accomplish this, officials will enroll credit card companies and financial institutions to identify any potential payment blocking strategies.
There were other recommendations in the report that the government agreed upon called Review of Illegal Offshore Wagering. Those include stricter regulations on advertisements which includes social media, establishment of a national self-exclusion register for problem gamblers, and new ways to ban online sporting betting sites that come from extending credit lines to users.
A Tough Decision Could Be Facing PokerStars
PokerStars could be facing a very tough decision because they are in the middle of the drama surrounding the online gambling market in Australia. This online poker room has spent several years working to get a foothold back in the U.S. market. The online poker room has been doing this since the following events of Black Friday in 2011. In September of last year, the company was approved for an operator’s license in New Jersey which was followed by a triumphant launched in March.
Even though the celebrations have not been finished yet, the owners of Amaya Gaming could be headed towards making a tough decision.
Regualtors in New Jersey are typically lenient towards operators who are serviced in grey market regions of the world. This means where laws do not explicitly criminalize internet gambling. Since Australia is headed towards a black market status PokerStars operations, Down Under, can cause a very big problem.
PokerStars has over a dozen jurisdictions around the world that are licensed, but however, Australia is not one of them. This might cause Amaya to decide to exit the online poker market in Australia or to not expand throughout the U.S.
This decision would be hard to make. Let’s just say the operator does not exit the online Australia gaming market, the regulators in New Jersey would not look kindly at PokerStars. However, it is important to think about the possibility of more jurisdictions in the U.S. not legalizing online poker. Also it is important to think about the possibility of those who do legalize it invoke a bad actors clause like in Nevada, instead of banning the company from getting a license.
Many had hoped that California would pass iGaming laws in which have accepted PopStars in the field. Just about a week ago, the online poker bill that has been progressing through the chambers had to include bad actors that can possibly put an end to Amaya’s dreams of entering the largest state market in the United States.
Many question whether or not it is worth the risk of losing customers in Australia to pursue a dream on expanding in the United States. There are many questions that have to be answered. One is if the company does not exit Australia in a voluntary manner, would it eventually lose it rights to run in both countries? Another question is will PokerStar’s owner will try to apply for a license since it does have Australian offices? Could this be a way for them to maintain presence in both of the countries?
Who knows what could possibly happen since PopStar is caught up in the middle of the drama surrounding the online gambling market there. One thing is for sure, their decision would have to be made quickly. It is important for all of the variables to be thought about carefully. If they are not all thought about carefully, then there is a good chance that the right decision would not be made.