888 Poker and PokerStars Apps Removed From Australia

Published: July 18, 2013

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Australia has never been known as conservative soil for online gambling operators, which is why the news that broke this week surprised online gamblers worldwide equally. In an unexpected move, the Australian government requested that online poker apps available to Australian players in the Apple store be removed.

Now, there is a bit of history to backup what seems to be a blunt move from the Aussie government. Back in 2001, Australia had a conservative government which gave thorough consideration to how the internet would affect the Australian society. Along with these considerations came the Interactive Gambling Act of 2001, a law that banned online gambling services in Australia and also forbid off-shore operators to offer online gambling services to Australian citizens.

We all know that Australia is a well explored territory for online casino companies, and the Aussies are some of the most fervent online gambling fans in the world. The Interactive Gambling Act of 2001 had never been thoroughly implemented, and Australian authorities just found out that nobody has ever been prosecuted under this law when they reviewed its record last year.

Unfortunately, the current Australian authorities have decided to enforce the law and contacted Apple with concerns about their apps for PokerStars and 888 Poker. The PokerStars app even comes with a real money option for players to have access to online poker on the go. The Australian Department of Broadband, Communications, and the Digital Economy (DBCDE, seriously, who came up with that!?) informed that it “wrote to Apple raising its concern that the availability of the Pokerstars App is contrary to the provisions of the Interactive Gambling Act 2001.”

Following the notification, Apple tried to resolve the issue through the app developers but failed in that attempt. Apple communicated back to the DBCDE that the PokerStars app would be removed from its Australian app store. Australian players have reported that the app is no longer available for them to purchase, though we know it continues to operate in other parts of the world.

Apple's quick reaction to the claim may also be linked to their latest attempt to fall in the graces of the Australian government as it debates taxation and product pricing in the region. We will keep you updated on what happens with the 888 Poker app and how the companies and the Australian government handle the situation.


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