Earlier this week, legislators in Australia approved an amendment to the current gambling bill that would make internet poker and live sports betting illegal. The move to ban online poker was on the cards for a number of months and a number of online poker operators such as 888poker and Vera&John decided to exit the Australian market ahead of time.
The Australian Online Poker Alliance (AOPA) which was founded by poker player Joseph Del Duca was optimistic about its chances of working together with legislators and getting an exception for the online poker industry to continue to operate legally down under. The association which is made up of online poker players had stated earlier this year that its discussions with legislators were having a positive impact but in the end it appears that their efforts did not produce the results they desired.
The legislation to ban online poker in Australia will cause serious concerns for a vast number of professional online poker players who make a living playing online poker. There are a number of Australian online poker players who are reportedly considering leaving the country and moving to a place where online poker is legal and where they can continue to make a living online. However there are some online poker players who are not in a position to pack their bags and move with their family overseas.
These players are going to be the ones hurt the most from the online poker ban as they are now left with no option but to look for a full time job which could be difficult considering the fact that most of them having been playing online poker full-time for close to 10 years and that gap on their resume could significantly impact their chances of securing a full time job. Apart from this, they also need to bridge the gap in their work-skills and mind-set as moving from a full time online poker career to a regular 9-6 job will be difficult.
Some online poker players are not willing to move overseas and are also not willing to change their career and take up a full-time job. As a result, they say that they are left with no option but to head over to black market online poker websites and continue to make their living playing online poker even though they are aware that it is illegal and they are exposing themselves to a number of risks. These are the issues that the AOPA is looking to address and solve by working with legislators to see if they can still get a waiver for online poker to continue in Australia.
Del Duca remained positive in the midst of the online poker ban by stating that the ruling was similar to a game of poker. It might appear that the AOPA had a bad hand and is on the losing side but just like a poker, things can change quickly and for the better. Del Duca made mention of the support that the online poker industry had received from Liberal Democrats senator David Leyonhjelm who was against the ban and is continuing to push for the ban to be lifted.
The senator questioned the logic of the ban on online poker by highlighting the fact that Australia allowed poker tournaments to be held at casinos across the country and was not against allowing its citizens to play online poker. The Aussie Millions which is held at the Crown Melbourne Casino every year, is one of the biggest and most popular poker tournaments in Asia Pacific. Leyonhjelm said it was hard to understand why such poker tournaments were alright because it was played face to face but online poker was illegal because it was played over the internet.
Leyonhjelm is looking to start a committee enquiry into the matter and has called on poker players in Australia to come together and intensify their efforts to get the government to pay more attention to their requests. As of now, more than 200 poker players have come out in support and Del Duca has called for more players to raise their voices and let legislators know that they would continue to fight the ban against internet poker.

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