Darren Dunett is an online poker whiz.
Darren Dunett is an online poker whiz. Catriona Peel

Call to shut illegal gambling sites

ALL bets could be off for Aussie online poker players as the authorities turn up the heat on illegal gambling websites.

The Federal Government and Federal Police have been urged by the Australian Crime Commission to burn poker websites clearly violating Australian legislation by shutting them down.

While the provision of online casino games is subject to fines of just over $1 million a day under the Interactive Gambling Act, no website offering such services has been charged since the laws were enacted a decade ago.

However, the new initiative comes after the big three US poker websites – Full Tilt, Pokerstars and Absolute Poker – were indicted last month over money laundering and violating internet gambling protocol.

The FBI seized the websites, leaving many US poker pros in the lurch, and the same could happen to Australian card sharks in due time.

Digital Economy Minister Stephen Conroy has broached the issue and said while the government was investigating the issue on our shores, it was difficult enforcing the laws on non-Australian companies.

The major issues with online gambling in its current form are that it provides an avenue for money laundering and taxation fraud, given winnings are tax free.

So for those Queenslanders out there, some of whom have reportedly won three quarters of a million dollars in the last year through online poker, you may have seen your last river.