32Red Leaves Australian Online Gambling Market
32Red has informed iGaming affiliates that it would no longer accept players from Australia.
The announcement comes shortly after the Australian government approved the Interactive Gambling Amendment Bill 2016 that practically makes the provision of online casino games and poker illegal.
TTRpartners, the affiliate program promoting gambling operator 32Red and its associated brands, requested from affiliates to stop promoting their brands to Australian players and informed them that no Australian registrations will be accepted as from April 3, 2017. The affiliate program noted that was its first step of a gradual exit from the Australian iGaming market.
32Red is probably leading the way to a massive exodus of top-tier gambling operators. It is still unknown when exactly the approved amendments to Australia’s gambling law will take effect, but once this happens all operators providing their services to local players without licenses will be conducting a criminal activity. The country’s new regulations will certainly scare off casino and poker brands that pride themselves on avoiding black market operations.
The Gibraltar-headquartered gaming operator, which has recently agreed to be acquired by larger gambling group Kindred, is not the first to have decided to leave Australia’s soon-to-be-regulated market. Casino operator Vera&John and 888 Holding’s poker brand 888poker stopped operations Down Under late in 2016 and early in 2017, respectively.
Back then, the Interactive Gambling Amendment Bill was in its early days and was still gaining momentum. The legislative piece was introduced by Australian Human Services Minister Alan Tudge in November 2016. Despite staunch opposition, the bill gained the necessary support to be passed by the Australian government in March.
Generally speaking, the legislative piece bans the provision of unlicensed casino and poker services. And given the fact that Australia does not have clearly defined system for issuing licenses to interested operators, it thus becomes practically impossible for those operators to operate in a regulated environment. The illegal black market will remain their only option, but as mentioned above most of the world’s largest operators tend to avoid such operations to maintain a good reputation and spare themselves from any legal issues.
Online poker, in particular, has enjoyed great popularity in Australia, so this type of service and its consumers are expected to suffer quite a lot from the upcoming changes in the country’s regulatory environment. With 888poker already out of the market, it is only a matter of time before PokerStars, one of the other big names to be serving local players, follows suit.
In fact, PokerStars has already made it known that it would leave the market as soon as the proposed amendments are approved. The operator has already suffered from not playing along with lawmakers when it was banished from the US for offering real-money poker after UIGEA’s implementation, so it will certainly not make the same mistake in Australia.
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