Since Australia does not legally permit online gambling for cash, the apps being offered by Apple Australia could be breaking Australian law and could soon be banned. One of the main apps being used in Australia for online gambling is the PokerStars application, which permits Australian to download the app and then use real cash to bet on a number of casino games that are available via the app.
In a statement, Greens Senator Richard di Natale, member of the gambling reform committee said
We don’t allow online poker in Australia for Australian people under the Interactive Gambling Act … they [Apple] have got an obligation to take down apps that are against Australian law and they should do it
However, even though the IGA have strict laws against all styles of online casino gambling in Australia, there has been a rapid increase in the number of online sports betting apps as the has been a leniency in monitoring such apps. Recently, Fairfax tested the theory and found that it was not only allowed to download the PokerStars app by going to the Australian iTunes app store, but it had the option of doing a real money deposit and then take part in cash table games.
Based on recent stats issued by the IGA, there are now more than 2000 online gambling establishments in Australia who are operating illegally providing gambling services to the Australian market. This is a major concern in Australia because none of these illegal gambling establishments pay tax to the Australian government and this is a huge loss, especially considering the fact that it is estimated that more than $1 billion each year is lost by Australians who take part in various online gambling activities.
However, not all gambling providers in Australia agree with the strict laws on online gambling. One of these is Chumba Casino, which operates out of Perth and offers a social gambling app which is different from the usual online gambling app. Laurence Escalante the founder of Chumba Casino said his app was not restricted to online gambling alone as it incorporated a number of experience points, avatars, social bonuses and quests which means it is very entertaining to play on platforms like Facebook and hence should not be banned.
We ‘gamify’ gambling to make it even more fun, accessible and safe [Prohibition] simply doesn’t work, and enforcing it in practical terms is difficult, if not impossible.