Aussie Lawmaker Proposes Carve-out For Internet Poker In Federal Government Online Gambling Ban (update)
Meanwhile, government delays on bringing Interactive Gaming Act amendments to debate
Interesting developments reminiscent of the US online gambling struggle have been taking place in Australia after the federal government announced its intention to ban all forms of online gambling except sports betting:
* Pokerstars, Vera & John and 888Poker have all announced plans to exit the market;
* Players took a leaf out of the PPA’s book and formed the Australian Online Poker Alliance (AOPA) to fight the government action, urging Aussie players to contact their political representatives;
* The government held back on the debate, and has now said the second reading of its Interactive Gambling Amendment Bill 2016 will only take place on March 20;
* In the most recent and arguably most significant development, Australian Senator David Leyonhjelm of the Liberal Democratic Party has filed an amendment of his own, proposing carve-outs from the general ban for online poker and blackjack.
Whether the Senator’s proposal gains traction in the face of government’s majority remains to be seen, but at the very least it represents a rallying point for political and player resistance to the proposed ban.
The AOPA appears confident that it can muster political support for the amendments, and has said that a number of legislators are receptive to the carve-out plan.
Meanwhile, the campaign to motivate Aussie online players to protest the government’s bill continues.
To help generate funds for its activities, which include lobbying politicians in Canberra, the AOPA has put up a GoFundMe page to raise A$5,000.