In the past Australia was considered a grey market for online gaming operators. This is no longer be the case if the government adopted a new legislation in March.
The so-called Interactive Gambling Act, put poker in one line with casino games and stated that foreign online poker rooms can be blocked.
The inquiry about the future of online poker took place on the 1st of August. The committee consisted of Jonathan Duniam, Cory Bernardi, David Whish-Wilson, and David Leyonhjelm.
Representing the Australian Online Poker Alliance (AOPA) were (WSOP) bracelet winner Luke Brabin, Oliver Gill-Gaber, James Devine and Daniel Laidlaw.
The two experts taking the stand were Professor Alex Blaszczynski, Director of the University of Sydney’s Gambling and Treatment Clinic and Chairman of the Responsible Gambling Research Group Dr. Sally Gainsbury.
You can read the full inquiry here.
Summary of the most important points
Will the legalization of Online Poker increase the gambling problem?
Professor Blaszczynski expressed his concern that a legalization of online poker will encourage people to gamble.
Both Gainsbury and Blaszczynski stated however, that the percentage of problem gamblers who have online poker as their trigger is one of the lowest within the gambling branch.
Should Online Poker and Gambling be advertised publically?
A big part of the discussion was about the fact that sports betting and horse racing are heavily advertised in Australia and that this needs to change, in case online poker is legalized.
The argument that legalizing online poker would lead to a massive increase in underage sign-ups was clearly disproved as the average age of online players in Australia is 39 years.
New game types and mobile games increase the risk of gambling
Gainsbury claimed that online poker sites recently moved towards faster, and more luck-based mobile games and in her opinion this is going to make legislation more difficult in regions such as Australia or the USA:
“When you have mobile apps you speed up the play and change the features of poker, and it can change the extent to which it is related to problems.”
Another consensus was that tournament poker is clearly preferable to cash games from a gambling perspective.
David Leyonhjelm, Senator for New South Wales, proved to be a very advanced thinker and made a very good point when he said:
“The suggestion might be that, if someone is playing poker—whether down at the pub, at the club or even online—they’re not drinking, they’re not beating their wife or their wife’s not beating the children, their husband or something along those lines. They’re not engaging in destructive behaviour. Would you accept that that’s a possibility?”
“It’s the first time in history that Australian Poker players have had the chance to stand up for the game we love”
After the hearing AOAP member Joseph Del Duca said it was a resounding success for Australian online poker players:
“It’s the first time in history that Australian Poker players have had the chance to stand up for the game we love. It was a significant day and as, a community we should be proud of how we handled it.”
The committee has now time until the 21st of September to respong and we will keep you updated about any future developments at VIP-Grinders.com.