The recent banning of PokerStars and 888 mobile poker apps from Australia’s Apple store was a quietly done move that ended up having a major reaction in the poker and general media.
It was a bold move requested by an Australian Government department as a federal election looms ever closer. But while freedom and the game of poker are enjoyed by many people around the land down under, chances are the apps won’t be coming back into the store anytime soon.
Although there is an election due to take place in the country in mid-September, the closure of the apps does not and will not even come up on the political radar. That comes despite initial questions on the legality of the apps coming from a politician back in April. At the end of the day, however, the issue is too small to be a major deal, even in the lead up to the next Aussie election.
While a large of number of Australians have acquired iPhones and smartphones, mobile apps are not the only way Aussie poker players are able to play the game online. While the apps have been a popular and convenient way for Aussies to play online poker, those who want to keep playing can easily do so from their computers with little chance of government intervention.
Due to this, it is unlikely there will be a huge uproar over the banning, even though most Aussie players are likely to believe the apps were a great alternative to playing on a computer or laptop.
As stated earlier, political attention to the existence of the PokerStars app was originally brought up by a politician, Australian Federal Senator Richard Di Natale, in April. Senator Di Natale called for the Apple store to ban the sale of the app, stating that it broke Australia federal law (specifically the Interactive Provisions Act).
The Senator’s political party, the Australian Greens, are influential in the current Australian minority Government, which is led by the Australian Labor Party (ALP). The ALP is currently neck and neck with the major opposition party in voting polls, meaning the support from the Greens remains crucial in the lead up to the election.
Although the minor party may not play such an important role in the Government after the coming election, it will still be unlikely that the poker app ban will be overturned anytime soon. Technically, the argument that the app breaks Australian law is true, which means any Government move to lift the ban will not happen unless the law is changed.
The app may have been banned from sale in Australia’s Apple App store, but that will likely not be extended to other online poker services open to Australians. Many services, such as those offered on computers, have been open to Australians for far too long and online poker itself is not a major issue in the country.
Playing online poker in the land down under may not have the convenience and diversity of options that it had for the last few years. However, this is nothing close to Black Friday. We can still play online poker, unfortunately, just not on our phones.