Online poker legislation in Australia.  Is poker legal?

In 2001, Australia introduced the Interactive Gambling Act 2001 (IGA) to deal with the ¨problem¨ on online poker.

The primary objective of the IGA is to reduce harm to problem gamblers and to those at risk of becoming problem gamblers. The evidence since the last review of the IGA suggests that the Act is making only a very minor contribution to this objective.  Basically, it is toothless and Aussies who want to play poker online can and do.  Easily.

On 27 May 2011, the Australian Government announced it would undertake a review of the IGA.  The tender was offered here:
https://www.tenders.gov.au/?event=public.atm.showClosed&ATMUUID=047F731E-ABD7-98CE-5F48BF9D864EB76E

The Government has prepared an interim report for the purposes of public consultation, which has been making news recently:
http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/political-news/online-bets-to-come-with-measures-to-limit-harm-20120529-1zhgf.html
http://www.canberratimes.com.au/national/report-recommends-liberalising-australian-online-betting-20120529-1zhoi.html

The minister’s report release about the interim report:
http://www.minister.dbcde.gov.au/media/media_releases/2012/082
online poker

A copy of the interim 159 page report can be found at:
www.dbcde.gov.au/igareview

Key recommendations in relation to online poker were:

Recommendation 21: The IGA should be amended (subject to a sunset clause) to enable and encourage (currently prohibited) online gaming sites (as well as currently licensed sites that prevent Australians from accessing their online poker tournaments) to become licensed in Australia on condition that they:

  • · cease offering higher risk online gaming services to Australians and only offer online tournament poker (that is, the lowest risk type of online gaming), and
  • · adopt the harm minimisation and consumer protection measures in the proposed national standard.

Recommendation 22: To test that such an approach would be effective in reducing problem gambling risks, this amendment to the IGA should be introduced on the basis of a five-year trial where:

  • · a player can only participate in one tournament at a time with any one regulated provider
  • · the ‘return to players’ from each tournament should be transparent to players before they enter the tournament, and
  • · no television advertising of these services should be permitted other than on programs that broadcast poker tournaments; all other types of advertising should be permitted subject to the standard restrictions.

Recommendation 23: This trial should not start before the proposed national minimum standard for harm minimisation and consumer protection has been adopted and should only continue after its five-year sunset clause if recommended by a committee of eminent Australians and consideration by parliament. Enforcement and prevention measures in Chapter 4 should be timed to commence in conjunction with the trial.

Recommendation 24: The department, FaHCSIA and Treasury should consult with states and territories, industry and leading Australian gambling researchers on the design and implementation of governance arrangements for the pilot, including the need for additional funding for support services to problem gamblers and for more effective data collection to enable monitoring of the trial.


online poker

 

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