32Red has started the process of exiting the Australian market following the country’s decision to approve the Interactive Gambling Amendment Bill 2016.
Although the new bill is yet to be signed into law, the Senate’s positive vote in March 2017 has made an iGaming ban a virtual formality.
Barring any unforeseen issues, the bill will be approved in the next governmental session on May 9 before coming into effect a few weeks later.
32Red Waves the White Flag
Despite still having time on its side, 32Red has decided to leave the market with almost immediate effect according to reports from affiliates.
With Australian Human Services Minister Alan Tudge making it impossible for online operators to stay active, 32Red has instructed affiliates to stop pushing the site to Aussies.
In addition to affiliates being told to stop offering sign-ups to Australian players, the site itself reportedly stopped accepting new players on April 3.
32Red is making the move now is because when the Interactive Gambling Amendment Bill 2016 comes into effect it will make all online casino and poker sites illegal. Following the Review of Illegal Offshore Wagering in 2015 publication, the government the drafted the Interactive Gambling Amendment Bill 2016.
New Laws Close Loopholes and Shutout Operators
The main reason operators like 32Red are being forced to exit the market is because the new laws will require all online gambling operators to hold a valid license.
“Prohibit a person providing regulated interactive gambling services to Australians unless the person holds a license under the law of an Australian state and territory,” reads the bill.
This, however, is something of a misnomer since there are no provisions in place for operators to obtain a license. The end result is a country that is, for the time being at least, off-limits to international online poker, casino and sports betting sites.
While 32Red is making the move away from Australia, PokerStars looks to be staying for now at least. Although it will eventually have to stop accepting new sign-ups and start the process of giving existing players the ability to withdraw their funds, it appears to be leaving things as they are for now.
For Australian poker players, this will come as welcome news given that online events such as the Spring Championship of Online Poker (SCOOP) are on the horizon.
With this potentially being the last ever SCOOP festival Aussies can take part in, it could be a fitting time for a few winners to bag some cash in what’s likely to be one of the last major online festivals.