Australia joins United States’ War on Poker
The United States has an ally in war on Internet poker. Reports indicate that Australian authorities are working with the U.S. DoJ in the ongoing online gambling persecutions that went into high gear on April 15 (“Black Friday”).
From the beginning, most people in online gaming circles suspected that Black Friday was directly connected with the arrest of 28-year-old Australian entrepreneur Daniel Tzvetkoff in 2010.
Tzvetkoff was “mysteriously released from jail by June last year and is now in a New York safehouse after agreeing to roll over on the online poker kingpins which were illegally operating in the US,” the Sydney Morning Herald confirms.
“Tzvetkoff was accused of creating an illegal system that allowed the overseas-based poker sites to accept billions from US gamblers, while hiding the fact that it was gambling-related income from US banks using phony shell companies and offshore accounts.”
The FBI, down under
Apparently, Tzvetkoff’s info isn’t being used to shut down online poker sites only in the U.S. The Australian Federal Police are now working with the FBI to investigate unregulated online gaming websites, and, if they can, shut down access to the biggest of those sites, just like in the U.S.
Australia’s online gambling situation is very similar to the U.S. The country has a law, the Interactive Gambling Act, that’s written to block “interactive gambling service to customers in Australia”. But, like the UIGEA pre-April 15, the law is rarely enforced.
“Despite the sites openly flouting the law and bypassing advertising bans by sponsoring NRL teams and poker nights, police have yet to act and levy the $1.1 million a day fines outlined in the legislation,” as the Sydney Morning Herald puts it.
The affiliate angle
The news comes as Australia is on fire with gambling controversy. Certain Aussie lawmakers are working hard to ban all casino games, offline and online, and have succeeded in passing restrictions to online betting rules.
Like the most anti-gambling American politicians, Senator Nick Xenophon doesn’t want online gambling regulated at all — he wants it fully banned. Communications Minister Stephen Conroy has also spoken out repeatedly against online gambling and consistently pushes to outlaw it entirely.
Online gaming is big business in Australia, where the industry is valued at about $1 billion in local currency. About 700,000 Australians are estimated to be “punters”.
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