On Saturday, Aug. 25, 2018, the Winning Poker Network announced that it was exiting the Australia market and will no longer allow Australian residents to sign up for new accounts. This decision affects all network-owned sites: Americas Cardroom, BlackChip Poker, True Poker, and Ya Poker.
People from Australia who attempt to access the websites of any of the WPN poker rooms are redirected to the network's site where they see the following:
This text references the Interactive Gambling Amendment Bill, which indeed prohibits unlicensed entities from providing online gambling services. Actually, there are no licensed online poker sites in the country because Australia has not yet implemented a licensing regime for the card game. The only online gaming firms authorized to transact in this market at the moment are sportsbooks.
The Winning Poker Network had ignored this legislation until the present, but it seems that it's now endeavouring to comply with it.
In some instances, internet poker rooms that close their doors to certain jurisdictions allow those who already have accounts to keep playing while preventing newcomers from signing up. It's unclear if this will be true at the Winning Poker Network.
One customer, posting from his Twoplustwo account “shutdown,” stated that he received the reply, “Yes as per regulations we are actually stopping service in Australia.” However, poster “dreaded1” got a different response:
This seems to imply that those with existing accounts can continue playing at least until a “final resolution” is arrived at, which may occur within the next few weeks.
There have been occasional instances in the past of failed poker sites absconding with their customers' funds. Just look at the Lock Poker debacle and the Equity Poker Network closure for examples of this phenomenon.
It's important to note, though, that in both of these cases, the poker firms in question had suffered serious payment problems in the months preceding their ultimate demise. The Winning Poker Network, on the other hand, has been faithfully paying out player wins in a speedy and honest way for years now. Indeed, this poker group frequently places near the top of the pack in our monthly offshore poker payments report.
We therefore expect no issues with affected customers receiving their funds. Now that the WPN supports more than 60 crypto-currencies, you can even avoid the delays sometimes associated with checks and other old-school payment processors.
The Winning Poker Network isn't unique among online poker operators in waving goodbye to the Land Down Under. Quite a few of its competitors have also taken this same step. They include 888poker, PokerStars, PartyPoker, the Chico Poker Network, and Intertops.
There have been a few examples of rooms that have gone in the opposite direction – that is, they have sensed opportunity in the lucrative Australian online gambling scene and have opted to begin accepting Australians as customers. Perhaps the most prominent of these is Ignition Casino Poker, which opened to new Australian account registrations in July 2017.
If you're an individual who can no longer play at your favourite internet poker room, then don't abandon hope just yet. There are a number of sites that still service Australia's population. You can read all about them in our Australian online poker guide.