Australia Loses Fight for Legal Online Poker –

It appears the last-ditch effort of Australians to fight for legal online poker has fallen short.

The Australian Senate passed the Interactive Gambling Amendment Bill 2016 on Wednesday, effectively fencing the country in from regulated operators of online poker. The bill was initially meant to close off loopholes that allowed in play sports betting but also has the side effect of making it impossible for regulated online poker to be offered.

The passage comes on the heels of a final push from online poker players and advocates, led by the Australian Online Poker Alliance and Australian Sen. David Leyonhjelm.

After the bill’s initial movement late in 2016, things looked grim for online poker Down Under. However, the AOPA formed in response to the bill and Leyonhjelm took up the cause, initiating an inquiry to highlight what he and others saw as a foolish and hypocritical law.

Poker players responded and the group presented their case before at an Aug. 1 hearing. Joseph Del Duca of the AOPA said the support was all he could have hoped for.

“The Australian poker community should be very proud of how they have held themselves through the campaign,” he said. “We have rallied together as a strong community. The inquiry has received so many submissions from people who want to save our game that they haven’t been able to keep up with the work load.”

The band also recruited a pair of expert witnesses who pushed the idea of regulation rather than prohibition. Dr. Sally Gainsbury, a university professor, pointed out that black market sides exist that will swoop into the vacuum in the market and cater to Australians.

“A lot of people will continue to play, and they will be forced to use sites that potentially have fewer consumer protection mechanisms and be exposed

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