Online poker might just have a fighting chance now an Australian politician is lobbying to save it.
Australian poker has been given a life raft thanks to a secondary amendment which will protect the online game, along with Internet blackjack, crafted by Liberal Democrat Senator David Leyonhjelm.
The amendment by Leyonhjelm, scheduled to be introduced next month by the Senate, sees the addition of “casino-style poker or blackjack gambling service” added to the definition of a gambling service which includes “a game of chance or of mixed chance and skill”.
This amendment may fail but the Senator is the best chance the Australian Online Poker Alliance (AOPA) has in keeping online poker, and blackjack, legal in the country.
Since there’s still at least a month until the next sitting the AOPA have time to lobby other Senators.
The knight in shining armour took to his Facebook wall to post a video condemning the Interactive Gambling Amendment bill 2016, which you can watch above.
“The government hopes to pass new legislation giving authorities greater power to crack down on playing online poker for money in Australia,” Leyonhjelm says.
“I am talking to the government about reconsidering the legislation.”
Leyonhjelm urges poker enthusiasts to contact Human Services Minister, Alan Tudge, and his most interesting piece of advice is to “screw the government” and “get a VPN” if “none of this works”.
The AOPA commented on the video praising the Senator for his continued support.
The amendment, created by Tudge to crackdown on online gambling, follows the approval of the bill by the House of Representatives.
Online poker was largely ignored during the debate, with the discussion centred on gambling advertisements and the impacts of problem gambling.
Whitlam MP Stephen Jones argued the bill was flawed and inconsistent, warning the government if it doesn’t regulate the industry, it will continue illegally.
Leyonhjelm’s comments confirm Jones’s stance.
Since the introduction of the Interactive Gambling Amendment 2016, the industry has gone into a frenzy. PokerStars, one of the biggest poker companies in the world with a 2.5 per cent revenue income from Australian players, revealed it would leave the market if the bill passed.
888Poker left the market within days of the bill being introduced, which prompted the AOPA to form through the Australian Taxpayers Alliance.
Its website allows for poker enthusiasts to join the fight in keeping online poker legal via an automated email which you can send to your local MP.
If you visit the AOPA Facebook’s page you will find a list of key Senators you can also contact who could be integral to saving online poker.
There’s also a GoFundMe page where you can donate to the cause.