Look out Australia – national online poker regulation could be coming sooner than you think. According to a report by The Daily Telegraph, Australia’s federal government is strongly considering measures that would allow Australian companies to offer online poker, possibly within the next year.According to The Telegraph, this information was obtained from documents that show the government briefed members of the Australian gambling industry. In that briefing, it was suggested that so-called “in play” betting would be allowed to be offered online by Australia’s bookmakers. This type of betting was already allowable by phone or in person, so it wasn’t seen as a big danger to also allow it over the internet.For poker players, the more interesting part of the report was that “industry sources” believed the government might also allow online poker on a trial basis, with the trial period lasting for up to five years.If you live in Australia, you probably know that you can already play online poker at a variety of foreign poker sites. However, under current laws, Australian companies cannot operate online poker rooms or casinos. If such regulations were passed, firms that now offer sports wagering might also be able to offer poker under license from the Australian government.It’s important to note that most of this appears to be speculation, as opposed to a plan that is set in stone. In addition, both governmental and industry sources believe that the volatile political climate could cause shifts that scuttle any such legislation before it gets started.However, there are promising signs. According to The Telegraph, even some of the most ardent opponents of gambling believe that regulating online poker would be a good move for Australia. Some see it as a way to keep up with the changing landscape of online gambling, while others – such as noted anti-gambling advocate MP Andew Wilkie – believe that players will be better protected by sites regulated in Australia.
Australia Considers Online Poker Regulations May 25, 2012