Legal and regulated online poker could be on its way to Australia after more than a decade of murky legislation. Regulation could arrive already within the next year, according to recent reports.
Australian online poker players could be looking at new legislation that would regulate and legalize the activity, according to a report from The Daily Telegraph.
The report points to new efforts from the Australian government to introduce legislation in order to set up a new license-based market model.
The Australian government is believed to have informed the nations's gaming industry of its plans, saying that legalization of online sports betting and poker could arrive within the next six to 12 months.
According to sources familiar with the matter, legal online poker would first be introduced on a five-year trial basis.
The report is based on documents that show the above mentioned briefing of the gaming industry by Australian authorities.
Besides this, The Telegraph also published an email sent by gaming analyst Mark Bryan of Merril Lynch to inform his clients about the upcoming changes. The email mentions the prospect of legalizing live online sports betting alongside online poker.
"In-play live online betting: Many in the industry indicated that they expect this to be legalized alongside poker in the next six-12 months following overseas precedents," Bryan wrote.
"It seems (Communications Minister) Stephen Conroy's department recently provided a brief on draft legislation."
Legalizing online sports betting and poker would be a major turnaround in Australia, where all such activities have been illegal since the introduction of the 2001 Interactive Gambling Act.
The act prohibits online gambling and threatens with hefty fines for operators who breach it, but so far no charges have been made against any company since the act was first passed into law.