Online poker operators in Australia might have given up hopes of continuing to operate down under due to the recent amendment that legislators have decided to proceed with. The amendment known as the Interactive Gambling Amendment Bill looks to make changes to the Interactive Gambling Act from 2001.
Online Poker Operators Pull Out
PokerStars, the biggest online poker website in the world has decided that it will pull out of Australia once the bill comes into play. That will most likely be towards the end of this year. 888poker, the second largest online poker website in the world has already ceased operations down under and a number of smaller online poker operators have already exited the once lucrative Australian online poker market.
Gaming laws concerning online poker in Australia were very ambiguous in the past and it allowed a number of online poker operators to run online poker websites without any interference from the authorities. However all that is likely to change as Australia looks to crackdown on the sports betting industry and online gaming. The move to close down online poker has not gone down well with the online poker community down under and also liberal senator David Leyonhjelm who has vowed to continue his fight to keep online poker in Australia.
Leyonhjelm Fighting For Online Poker Exception
The senator nicknamed as Australia’s Bernie Sanders does not play poker or involve himself in any form of gambling but holds two firm beliefs. The government should not raise taxes and should not interfere in any way that reduces the liberty of an individual down under. Leyonhjelm states that he will not vote for any bill that violates these two beliefs that he has held onto for all these years.
If the current government and the controlling party disagree on any legislation, then the controlling party will have to secure the vote of 12 senators in order to put together a ‘crossbench’ that will allow the legislation to be approved. Leyonhjelm is one of the twelve senators whose vote needs to be secured and he wants to use his vote to get online poker an exception from the new Interactive Gambling Amendment Bill.
Leyonhjelm states that due to concerns over sports betting and its influence on match fixing, Australian legislators were looking to bring about an amendment to fix this concern but in the process were also outlawing online poker which was not causing problems to anyone in the country.
Senator’s Speech Questions Logic
The senator has argued against the logic of banning online poker and permitting live poker to continue across Australia. He highlighted these gaps in the proposed gambling amendment to the Senate and Leyonhjelm believes that most of the legislators had no idea about the impact the amendment would have on online poker and his speech raised questions and made them think twice.
Leyonhjelm wants to launch an inquiry into the proposed amendment as he believes this will cause legislators to take a second look at the law and maybe make a decision to give online poker an exception. However Leyonhjelm warned that if the inquiry was launched and a review process commenced, it would take a number of months for a final decision to be reached.
Leyonhjelm Wants Support From Players
In order to put pressure on legislators and get an inquiry started, Leyonhjelm wants the online poker community in Australia to come out in large numbers and show their support. The Australian Online Poker Alliance, a group of online poker players who want online poker to remain down under have already thrown their support behind Leyonhjelm and have vowed to continue their campaign to keep online poker in Australia.
In a statement, Leyonhjelm said “We need to hear from Australian poker players.  And, it’s useful to hear from poker players in other countries. Explain that what Australia is doing is out of step with what other countries are doing. It helps for Australian politicians to hear that what they’re doing is different from the rest of the world.”
When an inquiry is launched, online poker players will have to go to this website, http://www.aph.gov.au/house/committee and send in submissions to show that they support online poker in Australia.

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