Vera&John exit Australia ahead of online casino, poker prohibition


verajohn-australia-exitOnline casino brand Vera&John has exited the Australian market, the first of many online casino operators that will be bidding g’bye to their Down Under punters in the coming weeks and months.

Australian customers of Malta-licensed online casino operator Vera&John, which was acquired by Canada’s Intertain Group in 2014, found messages in their in-boxes this week welcoming them to Dumpsville, population: you.

The emails said the company was “always sorry to say goodbye, but the time has come.” The company said players were no longer able to make deposits to their accounts, and all Australian accounts would be officially closed “in one week.” All remaining funds in Vera&John accounts should be transferred to players’ preferred payment provider “within the next week.”

Vera&John was cagey as to the reason behind the abrupt divorce, saying only that it was “a business decision.” But it appears obvious that Vera&John’s hand was forced by the Australian government’s recent changes to its online gambling laws, which specifically prohibit online casino and poker sites from offering services to Aussie gamblers.

Vera&John won’t be the last operator to announce its Australian exodus. During Amaya Gaming’s Q3 analyst call last month, CFO Daniel Sebag confirmed that the company’s PokerStars brand would be forced to block its Australian customers, who account for 2.5% of Amaya’s overall revenue.

GVC HoldingsPartyPoker brand will also be facing a tough decision regarding its Australian presence, although GVC CEO Kenneth Alexander has previously demonstrated a high tolerance for grey/black market risk.

In February, just days after completing the acquisition of digital entertainment, GVC announced that PartyPoker would be returning to 21 legally sketchy markets that had exited three years earlier. Your move, Australia.