In 1998 the Gambling Act placed strict regulations on online poker operators in Australia. They basically banned any online poker site from processing payments for wagering transactions for residents of Australia. The law was designed to protect the interest of Australian residents from the online promotion of gambling and to protect the revenue streams of online poker operators in Australia. However, these days it seems that Australia is more concerned about online poker traffic than about protecting its citizens from Internet gambling.
The recently passed United Kingdom law also included an exemption allowing online casinos operating within the UK to process payments for players from the UK. The US government is soon expected to follow suit with similar legislation. There are two main arguments presented against online poker. The first is that online pokers are illegal in Australia because they contravene the provisions of the Gambling Act. According to the Gambling Act, gambling is conducted by members of a community or organization and those people have consent from the members of the organization to engage in gambling.
It is not a legal form of gambling for there is consent from the players and they are not considered as a group who are engaging in business transactions with one another. Therefore, according to these laws, online poker is illegal. The second argument is that online poker in Australia is allowed because many US and UK online casinos have operations in Australia. These sites offer games like poker, slots and bingo which are games of chance and are therefore not considered as gambling.
Australian online poker is therefore not against the law. There are also some US and UK companies operating in Australia, which allow online poker and allow American and British players to play for real money. These companies may be considered as fronts for offshore gambling companies and so the law against online poker is not as stringent in Australia as it is in the US and UK. There is however no law or regulation preventing an American player from playing poker online in Australia as it is a game which is allowed in the US and UK and is played for fun by many players both in those countries.
However, Australian laws do not make it easy for online poker sites to operate as there are many US and UK based operators who have created fake online poker sites to lure potential players. Most of these sites are based in Australia and are run using offshore banking methods and financial systems which are illegal in Australia. For this reason, a lot of research should be done before deciding on a site that you will play poker online in Australia.
There are a couple of issues regarding the online poker in Australia that are important to understand. One issue concerns the regulation of online gambling and the other is the Australian law on online gambling. The first issue pertains to the laws that are already in place in Australia to regulate online gambling.
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