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Australia Betting on Online Poker

G Day Mate: The news in the United States has been exceedingly positive in the past half-year concerning online poker, since the United States Department of Justice decided to let each individual state regulate and legislate their own residents’ online gambling activities. Nevada has already passed online poker legislation in that state, and is now in the process of preparing legalized gambling licenses for sale, which they say should be offered in the next 30 to 60 days. California and New Jersey would have to be considered front-runners to become the second state in the US to offer legalized online poker to their residents, but Hawaii, Illinois, Ohio and most recently Colorado are all pushing to enter the online poker pool as well.

But evidently North America is not the only continent where lawmakers and citizens are pushing for some form of legalized and regulated online poker and casino type gaming. Multiple news reports out of Australia show that the land down under is currently investigating and aggressively developing proposed online poker legislation. One such report comes from Australia’s Daily Telegraph, where the Australian government has reversed their age-old online gambling stance, not unlike that of the US Department of Justice. Australian’s governing body has informed the top players in the gaming industry in that country that nationwide legislation to allow online poker and even sports betting could be in place in the next 6 to 12 months. Those reports also indicate that a five-year trial period would then begin for online poker.

The Daily Telegraph in Australia is one of the largest news sources there, and they claim to have obtained documentation backing up their story. Said documents show that the government had indeed briefed the movers and shakers in the Australia gaming industry, and even includes an e-mail from Merrill Lynch’s head gaming analyst Mark Bryan letting his clients know about the Australian government’s plans to push online poker and sports betting legislation through. The new source said that legalized online poker legislation would probably be the first to pass, with legalized online sports betting legislation coming later.

To provide a backdrop for this most recent news, online gambling in Australia has been illegal since it first lept onto the World Wide Web in the mid-1990s. Offshore companies have worked around the Australian legislation, just as they have in the United States, but Australia, the US and other countries have in recent years become much more flexible in their opinion about the legalities of us online poker and gaming. After the worldwide economic crisis of 2008, and with virtually every statistical piece of research and evidence pointing to the fact that hundreds of millions of people globally play online poker every year, nations needing a huge financial shot in the arm are changing their position on the issue.

And it only makes sense to keep the massive profits local, rather than see them escape to some far flung offshore locale, especially if a country’s residents are going to play regardless who runs the operation. Australia passed a 2001 Interactive Gambling Act which levies fines of $1 million or more if a company is caught offering real money online gambling in that country. Ever since the inception of that legislation over 10 years ago, not one company in Australia has been fined. But that is not because gamblers are not playing. They simply are attending online sites which are hosted offshore. It appears that those offshore destinations are going to rapidly lose market share as countries like Australia push to get their piece of what appears to be a multi-billion-dollar online poker pie.