On August 9th, the Australian Senate passed a modified version of the Internet Gambling Amendment Bill 2016. Included in this bill was a provision that outlawed the game of poker in the country. The bill was passed in June by the House of Representatives. The measure modifies the Interactive Gambling Regulations 2001 as well as the Australian Interactive Gambling Act of 2001 and the Australian Communications and Media Authority Act 2005. Poker is no longer a gray area and brands are starting to pull out of the country in anticipation of the law going into effect.
PokerStars let its Australia-based players know via email on August 17 that it would be exiting the country mid-September, continuing to offer play-money gaming but real money options will be off the table. Just yesterday, partypoker announced they too will be removing services but much sooner, by the end of this month.
According to igamingbusiness.com, partypoker will officially stop their services in Australia by August 31st. The company announced their plans via the official partypoker blog and have stated that player funds are safe and secure. The online poker brand is the latest in a strand of poker and casino sites to decide they would be removing services from the country after the new gambling regulations were created.
Partypoker Managing Director Tom Waters stated in the company blog post that they regret the day has come that they must leave as Australia is a strong poker market. Partypoker will continue to work with the Australian player alliance in efforts to lobby the government to provide a safe regulated environment for residents of Australia to be able to play online poker in the future.
Partypoker has assured members of their brand in the country that deposited funds are safe and are available for withdrawal. Any questions about the withdrawal of the brand from Australia can be sent to the customer support team via live chat at the site, telephone or email.