Australian poker players woke up to some potentially good news this week as it emerged that the government may be on the brink of legalising online poker within six to 12 months.
The report, published in the Australian newspaper the Daily Telegraph, stated that the government had briefed the gaming industry of this time frame, marking a shift in policy.The Daily Telegraph went on to detail that online poker would be trialled for five years, while other forms of online gaming will be immediately approved. It also published an email to clients from Mark Bryan, an analyst at Merrill Lynch, which detailed the change.
“It seems (Communications Minister) Stephen Conroy’s department recently provided a brief on draft legislation.”Mr Conroy’s office refused to deny that the briefing took place and that final reviews of the Interactive Gambling Act of 2011 were taking place.The current law permits Australians to play online poker but only on sites based in other countries. Australia has a vibrant poker community with the Aussie Millions, in Melbourne each January, being the biggest annual poker event in the southern hemisphere. The PokerStars Asia Pacific Poker Tour also stages events in Australia, with the smaller junior Australia and New Zealand Poker Tour growing year on year.