A number of politicians in Australia, known for their views against online gambling, are questioning the legality of an Apple poker app, and are calling for a federal government clamp down on gambling operators from overseas.
“We don’t allow online poker in Australia for Australian people under the Interactive Gambling Act,” stated Senator Richard Di Natale, member of the gambling reform committee who told the WA Today Newspaper of his desire for a clamp down on foreign gambling operators. “They have got an obligation to take down apps that are against Australian law and they should do it.”
The Apple app, featuring PokerStars, which reportedly allows Australians to download and gamble for real money on their mobile devices, was at the center of the criticism aimed at the company.
The WA Today reported that downloading the PokerStars app from the Australian iTunes app store was simple, and so too was depositing real money and joining cash tables. However, Apple declined to comment when approached about the subject.
A review of the Interactive Gambling Act released in March revealed that there could be as many as 2,200 online gambling operators offering their services illegally to Australians. The review also recommended changes to the legislation after finding that the regulations were inadequate and did nothing to help reduce the estimated $1 billion lost annually by Australians through online gambling services which are not licensed in Australia.
The review proposed changes to enable and encourage those currently prohibited online gaming sites to legalize their operations in the country through becoming licensed and regulated. However, this proposal was quickly rejected by the government.
Opposition Holds On
Australian politician Andrew Wilkie, who has strong anti-online gambling views, proposed that it would be better to tighten the rules further, rather than allow online gambling sites to be licensed in his country.
Whatever happens in the future of Australian online gambling, it does seem that companies such as Apple should not be able to simply bury their heads in the sand and continue to essentially break the law. No matter how large a company may have become, they should never consider themselves above the law whether they feel they are providing a desired service or not.