PokerStars announced this week that the company will leave the Australian market. This includes its online poker and casino game segments.
PokerStars made the statement in emails to players located in Australia. The email noted that players would be permitted to stay on the site for now. All real money games and promotions are still available. PokerStars noted in the player emails that it has yet to decide on the actual date it will leave Australia. It estimated that the time would come inn mid-September.
Australian PokerStars players will be able to withdraw all promotional items in the form of cash when the country is restricted. This includes tournament tickets and other prizes with a perceived cash value. Australian players are encouraged to not let Stars Rewards Chests sit in accounts without scratching off the prize.
Many other online poker sites have already left the Australian market. These include 888, as well as skins on Microgaming. This was in anticipation of the Interactive Gambling Amendment of 2016. That bill passed the senate on August 9 and will go into effect 28 days later.
Professionalrakeback.com posted the PokerStars email received by players. It said:
The Australian parliament on August 9 passed the Interactive Gambling Amendment Bill (2016) effectively banning all online gambling sites that are not locally licensed under Australian State or Territory law. We’ve been aware of this day coming and have done our best to keep you informed, but we can confirm that we’ll be closing our real money poker tables to players in Australia, most likely around mid-September. We will contact you as soon as a firm date is confirmed.
Your funds are, and will continue to be, safe and available for withdrawal. Remember to open any unopened Stars Rewards Chests you have, and you can continue to spend your StarsCoin in the Rewards Store. A $1 Cash Rebate has been added to facilitate converting your StarsCoin to cash. Any tournament tickets and tournament money will be converted to cash for withdrawal, effective from the market exit date. We have provided a FAQ page here.
We’re proud to have seen the Australian poker community grow so strong over the last decade. We do respect the Australian Government’s decision in taking steps to protect consumers and hope that in time we’ll be able to serve real money poker to you again. In the meantime, we will continue to offer play money poker and we hope to continue to welcome many Australian players to our tables.
We’d also like to thank the Australian Online Poker Alliance for their campaigning on behalf of the game and suggest that you consider lending them your voice if you’d like to see a regulated return of online poker to Australia.