Australia is known for its top sports players in different fields including poker. It also plays hosts to various championships every year. But while it is home to different kinds of sports, Australia is now getting the flak for a perceived anti-democratic action against online poker sites.
The latest buzz is that the Australian government is planning to regulate online content. Among the target by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) Division are online poker websites, poker news sites and sites that have hyperlinks to these poker sites. This action is seen by poker fans as going against democracy and as an abuse of power. In fact, the internet freedom company Reporters Without Borders has included Australia in its watch list of countries which are anti-democratic.
Australia is one country in the Asia Pacific region where poker has a great growth potential. Joe Hachem, a big poker winner in 2005, is a native of the country. Casinos there are flourishing and contributing to the country’s economy not to mention the various poker tournaments that rake in millions of Australian dollars each year ? Aussie Millions, Asia Pacific Poker Tour, Asian Poker Tour and the Australia-New Zealand Poker Tour. Online poker sites also have a strong following in the land down under.
Unfortunately, the Australian government does not find value in these sites as it’s more concerned about implementing rules banning online gaming. The reasons behind such action? The government says it wants to protect children from pornography and gambling. The country’s Internet Gambling Act 2001 has included interactive gambling services as among the illegal activities. To date, it has blacklisted some 1,370 sites many of which are online poker sites. The list is even planned to be expanded to more than 10,000.