PokerStars Shuts Australian Online Gambling Operations on September 11

PokerStars will shut its real-money operations for Australian players on September 11, 2017, the online poker room has announced recently. The move comes shortly after the Australian Senate passed a bill that prohibits the provision of unlicensed online casino and poker services to customers from Down Under.

In mid-August and days after the positive Senate vote, PokerStars informed its Australian players that it was preparing for a mid-September departure from the country. However, the operator needed several days to decide on an exact date on which this would happen. The decision was announced after the above-mentioned bill received Royal Assent, which means that there is nothing that could prevent it from taking effect as a law.

PokerStars’ exit from the market did not come as a big surprise. It was last fall when the company first alerted its local players that it would leave the moment the proposed online gambling ban was implemented.

The world’s largest online poker operator has been avoiding black markets since 2011 when its former owners faced charges from the US Department of Justice for the illegal provision of online gambling services in the United States in the years after the introduction of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act 2006.

Just as all other major online poker operators, PokerStars is nurturing hopes that it will be able to return to a regulated US gambling environment and this is why it has been trying to maintain impeccable reputation when it comes to complying with gambling laws.

Leaving Australia’s online gaming market in such a timely manner has come as another manifestation of its efforts to distance itself from its blemished past.

PokerStars has not been the only online poker operator to confirm its departure from Australia, following the approval of the anti-online gambling bill. On Tuesday, partypoker informed its players that it would stop operating in the country from August 31, 2017.

Australia’s Interactive Gambling Amendment Bill and Ensuing Consequences for the Market

The Interactive Gambling Amendment Bill was introduced last fall, aiming to curb the nation’s online gambling industry by presenting regulatory clarity where lawmakers deemed necessary. As a result, the provision of unlicensed real-money online casino games, poker included, was prohibited. And since there is no licensing system established in Australia, operators are absolutely unable to obtain a license.

And although most of the companies that operated in the nation’s gray market for a decade or so have already left or are leaving shortly, this does not necessarily mean that players will not be able to reach unlicensed online gambling products.

However, these will be offered by black market operators with questionable reputation and questionable financial practices. Thus, instead of protecting Australians from unlicensed gambling services, lawmakers are directing players not just to unlicensed operators, but operators daring enough to violate all laws existing only to lure and get a larger clientèle.

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