888 left two countries in anticipation of online gaming regulations. 888 sent notice to players this week that it would leave the Australian market. It gave just two days of notice. There is speculation that the Interactive Gambling Act will be amended to require all online gambling companies to register and receive licensing in the country.
Currently, only those offering sports betting can be licensed. Sports and race books must adhere to rules set forth by Australian regulators that include the types of bets offered and taxes to legally accept bets in the country. This left a grey market for offshore poker and casino companies to do business in Australia without paying taxes or licensing fees. There is also no oversight of these companies by the Australian government.
888 also left Slovenia. This is due to the country’s interactive gaming regulations that are expected to become law in the coming months. There has been talk of Slovenia enacting online gaming laws since 2013. There have been some delays due to the need to conform with EU law and precedent regarding online gaming regulation.
Slovenia is expected to roll out new licensing requirements by July. The law would only apply to poker and casino games. Sports betting and lotteries would remain a monopoly under the central government’s control.
The move leaves Slovenia poker players without any access to the world’s top two online poker rooms. Residents of the country may still find poker action at networks that include iPoker, Partypoker and Microgaming.
PokerStars, the world’s largest poker site, left Slovenia last year. 888 is the second largest online poker site in the world. It also offers dozens of online casino games.