The Australian government has been trying to halt online poker and other gambling activities for some time now. However, making the online gambling industry illegal seems to have failed on a monumental scale. Reports suggest that there is now an excess of illegal poker sites operating within Australia.
Now, industry leaders are calling for the online poker industry to be made legal again and properly regulated.
The founder and head of the Australian Online Poker Alliance (AOPA), Joseph Del Duca, recently spoke on a report that was published regarding 33 foreign-based wagering sites, which were claimed to have gone out of circulation following the change in Australia’s online poker laws. Del Duca noted that the figures for this report were very much skewed though. Online poker, he said, was included as just one part of the bigger figure of interactive gaming activity. According to him, this was done to embellish the numbers.
Building on his speech, Mr Del Duca pointed out that the regulations have just made it so that online poker players have gone elsewhere to engage in gaming, and often to platforms that don’t have any kind of regulation.
He said that during the AOPA’s campaign, they have spoken to multiple poker gamers. Rather than the law change stopping them from playing, they have simply moved to alternative sites. “If anything, there are more unregulated poker sites for players to choose from today…”, he said, before finishing off by stating that these newer sites are far worse than any that have been banned by the government.
The Government Argues Its Own Point
However, not to be outdone, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) had a response to the naysayers. Nerida O’Loughlin, who operates as the chair of the ACMA, said that they expect to continue to disrupt illegal gambling services in Australia. This, she said, would be done via a combination of “clearer laws, an active regulator and stronger enforcement measures”.
Del Duca, on the other hand, spoke of O’Loughlin’s statement as being totally incorrect. He said that the ACMA takes its figures from a collection of 138 different sites that was put together a long time ago. He reinforced the idea that the newer platforms constantly put the public at a far greater risk.
He cited money laundering and terrorism funding as being two potential risks of illegal sites. Not only that, but he spoke of Australian citizens coming into contact with potentially questionable people on such sites.
However, the head of the AOPA has a solution ready to combat the problems that the online poker scene in Australia is facing. He said that the only way to protect poker players is to make the industry legal and properly regulated. His solution was backed up by an argument that it will provide the country with tax income, whilst also allowing Australian residents to indulge in playing poker in safe environments.