The legality of online poker in Australia remains in a state of flux following passage of the Interactive Gambling Amendment Bill in 2017, a law that was intended by the Australian Parliament to tighten up some of the vagueness of the 2001 Interactive Gambling Act.
Last year's bill forced the industry's major online poker operators such as PokerStars to stop accepting players who reside in Australia. However, much like the situation in the US, there remain a number of options for Aussie poker players who choose to play poker from the comfort and privacy of their own homes.
Many Australians may be wondering about the possibility of being prosecuted should they choose to continue playing online despite the 2017 legislation.
It's also somewhat comforting to know that passage of that bill last year did not close the book on the matter. The Australian Online Poker Alliance (AOPA) and Sen. David Leyonhjelm worked overtime on behalf of online poker players both before and after the Amendment took effect, resulting in the government agreeing to consider reforms that may allow for regulation of online poker.
If and when regulation comes into play remains undetermined. However, in the meantime, Australian online poker players certainly don't want to be denied playing the game that they love.
The Hachem Effect
It's worth noting that online poker players in Australia began flocking to the virtual felt in 2005 after their native son, Joe Hachem, won the WSOP Main Event. The publicity surrounding one of their own becoming a poker champion and winning $7.5 million resulted in a "poker boom" in the Land Down Under, very similar to that which occurred in 2003 in the US when Chris Moneymaker rode a PokerStars satellite event to glory - also in the WSOP Main Event.
The next decade or so saw online poker flourish unabated in the country until 2017. The Australian market for poker is quite lucrative, which should come as no surprise considering that Aussies love to gamble and have the distinction of spending more per capita via gambling than any other country in the world.
While the Interactive Gambling Amendment Bill may have put a damper on the country's status as gambling lovers, it certainly didn't wipe it out completely.
One poker site that caters to the Australian market is Juicy Stakes Poker on the Horizon Network. In fact, Juicy Stakes is so keen on servicing Australian poker players that it is currently offering a promotion specific to Aussies.
In honor of Australia Day on January 26, which is the country's official National Day, Juicy Stakes is hosting an Australia Day $500 GTD tournament. A buy-in of $5.50 is certainly affordable for any and all Australians who would like to commemorate the anniversary of the 1788 arrival of the first ships landing at New South Wales and the corresponding raising of the flag by Governor Arthur Phillip.
In addition to the Australia Day tournament, first-time depositors will receive a generous 200% up to $1,000 deposit bonus. Players who sign up through PokerVIP will also collect 36% automatic rakeback, a percentage that comes in handy as a real bankroll booster for those who log on and play often.
While player traffic at Juicy Stakes doesn't compare to the likes of PokerStars, the value available in overlays and soft action on the tables more than make up for it. Add to that the speedy timeframe in receiving cashouts and you have a poker site that many Australians call home - with many more welcome to check it out and do the same.