Australian Internet Gaming Law Ignored by Party Poker

Australia’s own Interactive Gaming Act is being directly flaunted by Party Poker who is advertising for someone to work as head of marketing there.

In a surprise move that has Australian lawmakers baffled at its sheer audacity, Gibraltar based and registered online gambling company Party Poker are seeking a person to head up their marketing operations in Sydney. The role will be to leverage the Party Poker brand and put it at the very forefront of Australia’s and New Zealand’s poker market. The surprising part about this is that it is illegal for any company based overseas or in Australia itself to provide online gambling or casino games to anyone who is living or present, physically in Australia.

For a breach of the law, individuals can be fined anything up to $220,000 per day, or for companies this figure climbs up to $1.1 million per day. With such stiff penalties looming over any entity that flouts that law, it begs the question as to why Party Poker is being so audacious.

The blame may lie with the federal government’s reluctance to enforce the law. In fact, there have been no moves from the government to do this since 2001 when their Interactive Gaming Act was passed into law. As a result, the many foreign providers of online casinos like Ruby Fortune Casino and poker rooms have had a relatively free run enabling Australians to gamble online without fear of prosecution.

Australian Internet Gaming Law Ignored by Party Poker

The Productivity Commission recently created a draft report commissioned specifically to look into gambling. They estimated that in 2008, around $790 million was funnelled to illegal offshore online gambling sites. Of that vast amount of money, none returned to the originating country. Internet based gambling activity is known to be gaining in popularity as Australians turn to the world wide web to get their gambling action, with an estimated three-fold growth over the previous five years.

With the final report from the Productivity Commission due to be released soon, industry analysts expect a recommendation that the government tighten up online gambling and start enforcing the laws.  There is growing opposition in parliament to online gambling and any changes in legislation to ease the passage of online gambling operators to set up shop in Australia are likely to be blocked.

But with the size of the Australian market combined with the proximity to Asia, there are plenty of obvious reasons why a company such as Party Poker would want to get its foot firmly in the door. As its own advertising claims, Party Poker is a growing business in Europe that plans on entering the huge Australasian market.