PokerStars to quit Australia in mid September

PokerStars will leave the Australian market in September after the Senate passed a bill earlier this month that bans all remote operators from offering online poker and in-play sports betting to Australian clients.

The operator told clients in an email of its decision, but did not name the exact date that it will no longer offer services, local media reports. It said it’s likely to leave the market “most likely around mid-September”.

“We’ve been aware of this day coming. We’re proud to have seen the Australian poker community grow so strong over the last decade,” it said.

The Australian Online Poker Alliance had been fighting hard to win an exclusion for poker from the country’s new Interactive Gaming Bill.

“The overwhelming majority of online poker websites used by Australians are run by legitimate companies that are licensed elsewhere in the world,” it argues. “There are no poker operators licensed domestically in Australia and current legislation does not provide any way for these overseas operators to be licensed and provide secure services to Australian players.”

The risk therefore is that these major players will withdraw leaving smaller offshore, unlicensed operators, creating an “unsafe poker environment,” it said.