888poker Leaves Australian Online Gambling Market

Online poker room 888poker has become another major online gambling operator to be leaving the Australian market. The brand has started informing its local players via email that they will not be able to play as from January 16, 2017.

888poker has also recommended that its customers unregister from any tournaments to be starting from and after the above date. All players will be able to withdraw their funds via the poker room’s web cashier.

As mentioned above, the poker brand has not been the first operator to quit operations in the local market. Late last year, Malta-based casino gaming brand Vera&John announced that its products will no longer be available to Australian players. Neither 888poker, nor Vera&John have provided any reason for their exit. The two brands have only informed players that their decision to leave the market had been the result from business re-evaluation.

It is expected that more offshore operators are to follow. And many believe that PokerStars will be the next big brand to leave the market. Such a suggestion is quite reasonable, actually. Over the past several years, the world’s largest online poker room has been steering away from unregulated jurisdictions in order to clean its blemished reputation.

PokerStars was among the operators to have been severely scolded and brought to court for providing real-money services to US customers after the implementation of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act over a decade ago. Since then, it has been trying to limit its operations in unregulated markets so as to convince US gambling regulators and lawmakers that it has learnt a lesson from the past.

Looking back to Australia, new gambling regulations are in the making there, ones that will probably provide offshore gambling operators with a rather challenging environment. Under current laws, sports betting is the only online gambling service to be explicitly legal Down Under. Online poker and casino games are not strictly prohibited. Yet, they are not exactly legal, as well. The new legislation will present clear-cut definitions of what will be legal and how iGaming operations will be regulated.

The Interactive Gambling Amendment Bill 2016, the piece of legislation that will change Australia’s gambling landscape in a manner quite unfavorable to international operators, was introduced by Human Services Minister Alan Tudge in late 2016. Crucial vote on the proposal is yet to take place but chances are that it will be given the necessary support.