Many well-established online casino brands have begun their exodus of the Australian gambling market, the culprit responsible is the Interactive Gambling Amendment Bill of 2016 passed by the Australian Senate. In November 2016 the Bill was introduced by Australian Human Services Minister Alan Tudge. Despite staunch opposition, the bill gained the necessary support to be passed by the Australian government in March 2017.
The sole purpose of the Bill is to amend the Media Authority Act 2005 (ACMA Act) and the Australian Communications with respect to illegal offshore wagering. (http://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Bills_Legislation/bd/bd1617a/17bd050). It goes without saying that the Australian online casino and poker market is already experiencing fundamental changes.
The New Online Gambling Bill is Severe
The Interactive Gambling Amendment Bill of 2016 will come done hard on any unlicensed operator that flouts Australia’s current online gambling laws. Item 33 stipulates that under no circumstances are offshore gaming sites allowed to provide gambling services to customers in Australia.
”The new gambling legislation renders the Australian gambling market as hostile for foreign iGaming operators, including the most reputable brands.”
Section 15 of the IGA states any party who intentionally provides an interactive gambling service which has an Australian-customer link will be slapped with 2,000 penalty points or $360,000. Item 35 and 35A will increase the maximum criminal penalty to 5,000 penalty points ($900,000) to operators who intentionally provide an interactive gambling service with a customer link to Australian customers.
”Proposed subsections 15(2A) and (2B) which operate so that a person must not provide a prohibited interactive gambling service that has an Australian-customer link. The maximum civil penalty is 7,500 penalty units, being equivalent to $1,350,000. Where a person contravenes the prohibition he, or she, commits a separate contravention in respect of each day during which the contravention occurs”.
Online Casinos That Exited the Australian Gambling Market
32Red Casino which operates through its affiliate program TTRpartners said that it no longer accepts players from Australia. The UK licensed operator notified its affiliates that they must stop promoting the site to Aussie players and as of the 3rd of April it no longer accepted any registrations from Australia’s iGaming market.
The Gibraltar licensed operator is not the only one part of the exodus. Other operators that followed suit are Vera&John, 888Poker, PartyPoker, PokerStars, the Mansion Group and Cruise Affiliates. The Mansion Group notified affiliates via a thread at GPWA as of 31st of August 2017 it will no longer service the Australian market.
Genesis Global Limited casinos (CasinoCruise.com, Sloty.com and Spinit.com) which serviced the Australian market through its affiliate program Cruise Affiliates notified its affiliates by email that Australia has become a restricted territory. As such the company terminated its relationship with Australia based affiliates since September 1st 2017. The company said that any outstanding commission, bonuses or funds owed to players or affiliates will be settled in full within the foreseeable future.
When it comes to offshore sports betting websites the Australian government is equally harsh. Any site that wants to target Australian players must apply for a gambling license. The amended bill will bar unlicensed casinos or sports betting sites from the country. As of now, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) can prosecute online casinos guilty of disregarding Australia’s new gambling legislation. As long as it remains a grey area Australia’s gambling market will continue to attract operators licensed in other jurisdictions.
From what we understand is that Australia still doesn’t have a clear-cut system for issuing licenses to operators, it’s safe to assume that illegal black market operators will continue to exploit it. With that being said, the world’s premier operators will avoid it simply because they value their reputation and want to avoid any unnecessary legalities.
Not All Doom and Gloom
Australia’s Northern Territory said that it plans on regulating its online gambling industry. It said that igaming operators can offer their services to its residents on condition they apply for a license.
Closed Casino Accounts: What Must I do?
If the online casino closed your account and refunded you, you are not longer allowed to play at that site. The good news is that all the RTG and Betsoft casinos still accept players who use Bitcoin as a deposit and cash out method.
Bitcoin is safe to use, it’s secure, no personal details are required, cash outs are fast and users are not restricted by the operator’s weekly withdrawal limit. (https://casinowhizz.com/site/using-bitcoin-deposit-method-online-casinos/)