Australia: Tasmania classifies poker games as illegal gambling unless hosted by casinos

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Australia’s island state Tasmania has made poker illegal in the state unless it is played at a legal casino. Consequently, league organizers like Tasmanian Poker League (TPL) and Australian Poker League (APL) can no longer host events.

In fact, any poker game that is not organized by a legal casino will be considered illegal and has become a punishable offence. The decision was made by the state government in consultation with the state’s gaming regulator, Tasmanian Liquor & Gaming Commission (TLGC).

Tasmania, which introduced legalized gambling before any other state, has now become the first to ban poker games across the state except at casinos. This move comes at a time when a sizeable number of people across Australia are struggling with gambling addiction.

Since the cash buy-in is banned unless hosted by casinos, clubs and pubs came up with a solution to get around the restriction. Speaking to, Craig Abernethy revealed that instead of cash, players can buy merchandise as their buy-in.

However, as soon as the TLGC got the wind of the situation, they immediately shut down that practice too, leaving thousands of players out in the dry. Due to this, the TPL also announced the cancellation of a freeroll, an event where there was no buy-in.

“The clubs and pubs also make money from food and beverage sales, and the TLGC’s decision will cause an economic ripple at perhaps the worst time of the year,” said Abernethy, who believes that the ban will impact hundreds of people.

Gaming operator Entain, which recently purchased the APL, is also expected to take a significant hit in revenue. In the last year, APL saw over 25,000 people participate in their poker games hosted at pubs and clubs as per Entain. With TLGC’s decision, all of them will be affected in one way or another.