Australian Poker Sites – The Legal Situation
The act passed by the Australian senate on the 21st March 2017 is called the Interactive Gambling Amendment Bill 2016. The primary focus of this law is live (in-play) betting. The reason given for its introduction was ‘protection’ of punters from match fixing. For reasons which are still unclear, online poker was included in this act. The effect is a blanket ban, which has proven hugely unpopular among not only players – but advocacy groups and some politicians too.
Before this new act, the prevailing law was the Interactive Gaming Act of 2001. This prevented companies based in Australia from offering online gambling. It did not stop players from enjoying the real money games offered by sites outside of Australia.
The newer legislation closes the ‘based in Australia’ loophole. At the time of writing this is brand new. It remains to be seen how (or even if) the authorities will enforce this act. Options used by other countries include payment blocks (via the banks) or blocking of domains at the ISP level. Fortunately, there are simple ways of getting around both.
Sites Which Welcome Australian Players
One online poker site has already stated that they will stand by Australian players. This is Tiger Gaming, which is part of the Chico Poker Network. Other sites on this network include the US-friendly BetOnline, and also Sportsbetting Poker.
While this is a smaller network compared to some of the global giants, there are some big advantages to playing there. First, there are plenty of easy games. This poker network is linked to those giant sports betting brands. This means that the average player at the table is likely to be a recreational bettor – rather than a poker grinder. There are also come big promotions, these include a huge welcome bonus of 100% up to $2500 matched to your first deposit.
If you’d like to know more, we have detailed review of Tiger Gaming Poker right here at IsOnlinePokerLegal.com
Other poker sites are still considering their options. These include the biggest online poker site, PokerStars.com. The fact that this site did not immediately leave the Australian market is a positive sign that they believe there is a legal basis to stay. With the biggest selection of cash games and poker tournaments anywhere online, remaining open will be a big boost to Australian poker moving forward.
Types of Online Poker for Australian Players
Poker is commonly divided into 4 different formats online. All of these can be found using Texas Holdem as their game type, with some also available as Pot Limit Omaha. Other poker games are less popular, and are generally only found at the biggest sites. The 4 formats are cash games, tournaments, sit n goes and fast-fold poker.
Cash Games: This is the original poker format and one that every player will be familiar with. The chips you have in front of you have a direct money value, if you bet $5, then that is a real $5 placed into the pot. Sites make money by taking a small fee from each hand, known as the ‘rake’. You will find that 6-handed tables are popular online, though table sizes and stakes vary widely.
Poker Tournaments: Instead of betting with real money, each player gets a stack of ‘tournament chips’ in this format. You buy in for a set amount, and keep playing until you get knocked out. 10% to 15% of the field end up getting paid prizes, with the big money reserved for the final table. There are now a lot of novel poker tournament variations.
Sit n Goes: The definition of this format is a tournament which starts as soon as enough players are seated. The standard sit n go is 9 handed, with 3 players getting prize money. Tournament chips are used. There are now many variations including lottery jackpot Sit N Goes and double-or-nothing games.
Fast-Fold Poker: This format aims to get rid of the waiting time in poker that you spend waiting for others to complete their actions after you have folded. To do this, players are placed in a pool, and randomly assigned to hands as soon as they fold (or end) the last one. You need enough players to kill the waiting times properly. This format has various names like Zoom or Speed Holdem. This is fast, entertaining, and also works well on mobile devices.
Link, new bill, https://parlwork.aph.gov.au/Bills/r5755