Effort to exclude poker from online gaming bill fails

An effort to exclude poker from a bill that will outlaw online gambling in Australia failed and the legislation has now been approved by the Senate.

A last ditch effort was made Monday for an amendment to the Interactive Gambling Amendment Bill 2016, but was rejected during a second reading on Monday, local media reports.

The bill now moves on to a third Senate reading and a vote in the House of Representatives, where it is expected to pass into law.

Sports betting will remain legal, but the amended law reiterates the nationwide ban on any form of in-play wagering.

The bill was proposed after a wide-reaching review of Australia’s online gambling and wagering industry in an effort to update legislation and prevent substantial amounts of money being bet offshore. The government claims almost 60 percent of the gambling industry is going offshore.

However, the outcome was widely condemned by the industry after it imposed more draconian legislation instead of bringing the country’s online rules into line with regimes in other developed markets, such as the U.K.

As a result, many online operators are shutting up shop. Bingo operator Vera&John stopped operations in December, with 888Poker following in January and PokerStars also having threatened to leave.