Sat, Apr 15, 1:15pm by Staff Writer
Regional poker players would be getting a raw deal under a new anti-gambling law that is set to ban online poker sites. The ‘Interactive Gambling Amendment Bill’ has already passed through senate and could kill poker off completely according to punters who do not live near a casino.
Punters like Die-hard Wagga poker fanatic Kurt Simpson – who competed in the Las Vegas’ World Series of Poker championship in 2013 – called the move “unwarranted”.
Simpson says that people should have the right to choose what they do in their leisure time and that if he could get to a casino then he would.
He uses online poker games to unwind after a long day and told the Daily Advertiser newspaper that “it’s great fun and it’s very easy to use sensibly”.
Although the law hasn’t been passed yet, several poker sites, including 888Poker.com have already pulled out of the Australian market.
Australian players have been prohibited from joining cash tables on the site since the middle of January and it’s believed that popular sites PokerStars and PartyPoker will follow suit if the bill passes.
According to human services minister Alan Tudge, the move is aimed at protecting problem gamblers from “unscrupulous” offshore companies.
A petition has been launched by online poker fans on Change.org under the banner of “Keep Online Poker in Australia” and so far has over 2,400 supporters.
The petition reads that the Australian Poker Community supports the reasoning behind the bill – in that it protects problem gamblers – but say that it needs to be rewritten to exclude online poker, as in-person tournament play is expensive and limited to major cities.
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