It's been an exciting year for Australian gamblers, with more casinos reaching out to local punters, a celebrity proving his poker credentials and even whispers of regulation in the offing.
Tax Free Tasmania:
- Tasmania dramatically announced that it will have zero tax for bookmaking operations, instead opting for a single, low cost license fee, making it a prime base for casinos.
Big Ozzie Winners:
- Stewart Scott from Queensland made the headlines in October by winning $2 million AUD at the Aussie Millions Main Event. He also became PartyPoker's new ambassador.
- Another popular victor this year was Amanda De Cesare, whose life seemed to be turning into a fairy tale in November and December. Not only did she triumph at the first series of The Poker Star, scooping a whopping $100,000 prize but just days later the talented TV poker star walked off with the Joe Hachem Deep Stack Series 3 Main Event prize of $77,500, making her Australia's hottest poker property.
- The 2009 PokerStars.net APPT Tournament of Champions also ended with an Aussie triumph, as Van Marcus earned $10,000 for his chosen charity, the Child Fund. Proving Australian prowess around the poker table, another country-mate, Aaron Benton, reigned supreme as the Sydney APPT Grand Final champion. The former Big Brother contestant ensured that the APPT Grand Final trophy will stay on home soil, after remaining here for the past two years, following the victories of Grant Levy (2007) and Martin Rowe (2008).
- More and more online casinos are reaching out to Aussie punters by offering payment options in Australian Dollars. Those welcoming Australian gamblers with open arms include JackpotCity Casino and Gaming Club Casino. If Bingo's your game, sites such as BingoAustralia offer Australian Dollar payments. Other Ozzie favorites such as Party Bingo and William Hill Bingo use a vast variety of international payment options which can't fail to meet your needs.
- In addition to own currency options, the new POLi system is another easy way for Ozzies to fund their flutters. The Melbourne-developed product facilitates swift, safe payments from online accounts. The payment software is available at Euro Grand Casino and many others.
- One to look out for - JackpotCity Casino are due to launch Microgaming's exciting new video slots in January. The 5 reel, 20 payline thriller is called 'Hellboy' and based around the Dark Horse Comics classic. It features much-loved characters such as Prof. Trevor Bruttenholm, Johann Krause, Abe Sapien, Liz Sherman and others. The red demon's game includes some great surprises, such as the randomly triggered Supermode feature with Held Wilds, as well as a 2x and 4x Gamble Feature.
- Finally, check out Casino King's new iPhone and android casinos, only just launched.
Big Money Competitions:
- October saw the commencement of the first ever poker TV series, "Australian Poker Hero". The series sees poker players and celebrity guests competing against each other for a $15,000 package to the 2010 Aussie Millions, as well as a great cash prize.
- He may be better known for his exploits on the cricket field, but Shane Warne is starting to make a name for himself around the poker table too. This year saw Warne taking part in the World Series of Poker, where he raised a few eyebrows with his skillful play.
- Those who like to keep up with the celebrity and gambling gossip might like to try out Australia's new poker magazine. PokerNews Australia was launched in April and focuses on the local market. The first edition of the bi-monthly magazine featured, who else, but Shane Warne on the cover.
Looking Ahead to 2010:
- Research undertaken this year indicated that Aussies are getting their fair share of online gambling action, despite its illegality. A Government funded Productivity Commission Report has given initial feedback that it may be time for regulation to commence. The report, due to complete in February 2010, is expected to influence the government's future stance on online gambling. Could legalization be on the cards?
The Australian gambling scene continues to be vibrant, with poker still proving to be a national favorite. All the signs are that 2010 will continue the momentum and may even be a landmark year for the industry.