VICTORY FOR ONLINE POKER ON THE CARDS
Following negotiations, the Coalition has advised that it is “favourably disposed” to reforms that would exempt online poker players from illegal offshore wagering laws.
Senator David Leyonhjelm has received a letter from Communications Minister Mitch Fifield advising that he has instructed his Department to undertake some preliminary work examining the feasibility of Australian onshore providers obtaining licences to operate online poker.
A Senate committee is currently examining the merits of the ban on online poker, established at the instigation of Senator Leyonhjelm, and is scheduled to report in mid-October.
While any reforms will be contingent on Minister Fifield obtaining party room approval, he has indicated he has the support of Human Services Minister Alan Tudge, who led the Government’s implementation of recommendations made in the Illegal Offshore Wagering Review.
“I I believe we have won the ‘in-principle’ battle,” Senator Leyonhjelm said.
“The question now will be how to make it happen in practice.
Gambling is largely a matter for the states, while communications and taxation are Commonwealth matters. I’m not sure ACMA is an appropriate regulatory agency and would like to see the Government consider something similar to the UK Gambling Commission, which appears to have a good understanding of the risks and benefits associated with online gambling.”
“I will maintain close contact with Minister Fifield and his Department to ensure this matter maintains momentum. Australian online poker players deserve to have a safe, regulated environment in which to enjoy their pastime and not be forced into using offshore sites.”
Media: Kelly Burke 0408 734 586