New Jersey DGE Tells Operators to Avoid Australia
In mid-August, the Australian Senate passed the Interactive Gambling Amendment Bill 2016, with the new laws and regulations going into effect a month later. The new laws legalized internet sports betting, provided an operator is issued a license by gaming regulators. This is great, but the problem for poker players is that it is illegal for operators to offer any games without a license and because the bill did not allow for poker licenses, online poker is effectively banned in Australia. And now, the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE) is telling its licensed operators to stay out of that country.
The path to this point for New Jersey goes back to April 2016, when DGE Director David Rebuck issued a Director’s Advisory Bulletin (DAB) which aimed to clear up the DGE’s stance on grey market sites, or those “jurisdictions where the laws were ambiguous or not enforced.”
Rebuck stated in the DAB that when a grey market takes steps to start actually enforcing online gambling bans, then it becomes a black market jurisdiction and New Jersey operators are forbidden from operating there.
Australia was a grey market, but now that the Interactive Gambling Amendment Bill 2016 has gone into effect and is being enforced, it is now considered an online poker black market in the eyes of the New Jersey DGE.
As such, Acting Director Richard of the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) wrote to Rebuck, notifying him of what was going on and urging him to tell New Jersey online poker and casino operators to keep out of Australia.
Rebuck has done so, writing a letter to the legal counsels of the various New Jersey licensees, telling them that they “….must comply with Australia’s new laws and cease offering all prohibited services to customers in Australia. Failure to do so many result in the Division taking regulatory action against your company, including finding your company unsuitable for licensure in New Jersey.”
The major online poker players in New Jersey have already done just that. 888 withdrew from the Australian market well before the bill was passed, while PokerStars and partypoker pulled out shortly after the bill passed.
Rebuck also told the New Jersey online gaming operators that they must detail the steps they have taken or will take to ensure that Australian players cannot access their sites as well as when these steps will be in effect. If an operator is not blocking Australians, it must explain why (and good luck with that).
Business-to-business operators have an extra step to take with the New Jersey DGE, as they must not only do all of the above, but also make sure any business-to-consumer partners of theirs are abiding by the black market rules, as well.
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