The amended Interactive Gambling Act of Australia forces unlicensed casino and poker room operators to cease their operations in the region.
Pinnacle, an online sportsbook and casino, recently stopped providing Australian players with payment services, according to reports. The sudden exit may be connected with the strong implementation of the law, especially since Pinnacle is reported to have no license to operate in Australia.
Pinnacle Stops Services in Australia
Pinnacle restricted Australian players on March 12 from accessing its sportsbook and casino sections, informing them through email without providing a reason behind the move..
Australian customers can now no longer deposit or bet on Pinnacle, and all pending wagers made are canceled while all stakes are returned to the customers. Players, however, can still withdraw funds from their account until April 20.
Australian Legislation Penalizes Unlicensed Operators
Minister for Human Services Alan Tudge filed the Interactive Gambling Amendment Bill in 2016 to revamp the country’s online gambling industry and fix the loopholes of the 2001 Interactive Gambling Act.
The Interactive Gambling Act of 2001 was designed to protect the Australian people from the harmful effects of online gambling. During a government review in 2012, there were technical loopholes found in the act. Punters found ways to get around the restrictions, one of which is through the use of mobile phones to make bets during live sports matches. There were also technical gray areas in the act that allowed online poker rooms to operate in Australia.
The amendment removes the gray area that has protected Australian operators for years, as well as the technical loopholes like click-to-call betting. Every unlicensed operator will be charged for breaking the law. But because Australia only allowed sports betting operators to receive licenses, this provision poses a problem to casino and poker room operators.
Now, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) will impose civil penalties on operators found breaking the law. Individual violators will be fined up to AU$1.35 million per day while companies can face up to AU$6.75 million per day. Any violators outside Australia can be arrested immediately the moment they enter the country’s airspace.
In a February 2018 report, ACMA found 65 companies that violated the new legislation. The organization has since then spoken to all these companies to restrict Australian punters from accessing their sites. It is fair to say that Pinnacle may have been one of the operators who received the warning from the regulation body last month and is now complying with ACMA.