Australian poker players have found themselves unable to access online poker giant PokerStars via their iPhones and iPads after Apple’s local App Store withdrew access to the popular mobile poker product this weekend. The poker purge has set off a blame game between Stars and Apple, with the poker company tweeting that “as far as we know” the action was part of a “’clamp down’ on mobile gaming” by local authorities.
However, an Apple spokesperson told News Limited that the Stars app – as well as a similar product from rival operator 888 – was pulled because it wasn’t compliant with Aussie online gambling laws. Apple’s move has yet to provoke a similar response from Google, as the Android versions of the poker apps are (for the moment) still available for download via Google Play. Meanwhile, helpful forum posters have suggested workarounds for devoted Aussie Apple fans that involve creating new accounts with the UK’s App Store.
In April, Greens Senator and confirmed gambling killjoy Richard Di Natale had publicly complained that Stars’ mobile app was in violation of the country’s Interactive Gambling Act (IGA), which restricts online gambling to sports betting only. There were hopes that proposed amendments to the IGA would have broadened the range of products available to online punters, but these efforts were shot down in March. Nick Xenophon, Di Natale’s senatorial partner in all things anti-gambling, has suggested certain social casino apps should also be banished to the digital afterlife.
PokerStars’ blog recently featured an online poker ‘heatmap’ tracing the global growth of the Texas Hold’em game over the past seven years. Not for nothing, but while countries such as Russia and China demonstrate ‘hot’ growth colors over the past few years, Australia remains a ‘cool’ blue. Check out the pretty color changes below…