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Australian Online Gambling Laws

Is online gambling legal in Australia? This is one of the most commonly asked questions from visitors. The answer is yes –  Australians are legally permitted to gamble on the Internet. While there are restrictions and laws for Australian-based casinos, there are no real laws for the Australian player. We recommend offshore casinos that cater to Australian citizens and accept wagers in AUD, which makes the online betting process simple, easy and fun, without leaving the comfort of your home.

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Gambling in Australia

While most forms of betting are legal and available to the Australian majority, current government restrictions exist, such as the Interactive Gambling Act, but these restrictions have minimal effect on individual gamblers. The limitations mainly deal with Australian gambling operators and their offerings, rather than the Aussie citizens who flock to their online gaming sites.

The Australian gambling landscape is an industry prone to change, with current politicians prioritising assistance for problem gamblers, and many parties keen to see a tighter regulatory framework for online betting. The current Coalition government is focused on providing improved counselling, more effective self-exclusion programs, and has also claimed to investigate methods of strengthening the enforcements of the IGA, to ensure Australian bettors are ‘protected’ from illegal Web gambling operators. They also continue to monitor advertising by sports bookmakers, and put forward their own laws if current self-regulation within the industry is ineffective.

Despite any potential policy changes, betting online within the Australian borders, will remain legal for a long time to come.

Legalities of Internet Gambling in Australia

There’s much more to the story than a simple ‘yes, online betting is legal’ response, especially from the perspective of gambling site operators.

What is the Interactive Gambling Act of 2001?

Operating an online casino in this country and offering its services to the Australian public was legal before 2001. However, the Interactive Gambling Act, passed by the Howard-Government in June 2001 with the intention of ‘protecting’ the public from the harmful effects of gambling over the Internet, prohibited the following:

  • Offering ‘real-money online interactive gambling services’ to Australian citizens.
  • Advertising ‘real-money interactive gambling services’ to Australian citizens.

Such services include Internet games such as Roulette, Blackjack and Poker, as well as in-play online sports betting.

While the Act did not warrant the operation of online casinos illegal; it did target those operating and advertising an online casino within Australian borders directed at Australians, which carries a maximum penalty of $220,000 per day (for individuals of an online gambling operation) or $1.1 million per day for the company.

Most importantly, the Act does not contain laws that prohibit individuals from placing online wagers, and many foreign online gaming operators offer their betting services to Aussie players. Sports betting sites and lotteries are not outlawed in this Act as well, which is great news for licensed bookmakers. Since the act specifically bans in-play betting, any Australian-based, bookmaker that offers odds live sports betting – after the kick off, are considered ‘interactive’ and illegal due to this Act. Placing a wager before the game is completely legal, and acceptable in the eyes of the IGA. Licensed online lotteries are also allowed to provide lotto services and products online, except instant-win scratch cards, which are the one limitation to the online lotto operators.

Mobile Capabilities

All the online casinos, sports betting sites, and other forms of wagering we endorse here, are compatible with smartphones and tablets. Players can log in, place a wager with real money, right on their mobile device. It’s growing to be one of the most popular methods, and mobile accessibility is one of the key criteria we look at before promoting a casino or sportsbook. Android, Apple, Windows, and even Blackberry can be used to place a wager for real money.

Legal Offline Betting in Australia

Australian Online and Offline Gambling Laws
Almost all types of offline, land-based gambling are legal in Australia, which helps to explain why we have the highest gambling participation rate in the world – it’s in our culture. We bet on anything we see fit, from traditional casino titles like Blackjack, Roulette, Pokies and Bingo, to every sporting and racing event imaginable.
There are many variations and forms of offline and online gambling available throughout the nation.

Casino Gambling

Offline:

There are numerous operational land-based casinos in Australia, from Melbourne’s globally renowned Crown Casino, to the Star City Casino in Sydney. Casino gambling is currently regulated under the Casino Control Act of 2006. This act explains how these venues should operate, and also provides detailed guidelines for the various State and Territory gaming committees that regulate gaming in their respective regions. Australian casinos are permitted to offer a number of worldwide favourites, including all of the most popular table games.

Games offered at traditional Australian casinos include: Blackjack, Roulette (and rapid Roulette), Baccarat (and electronic baccarat), Pai Gow, Casino War, Pontoon, The Big Wheel, Craps, Sic bo, Two-up and Poker variants such as Texas hold’em, Caribbean stud, Omaha hold’em, Seven card stud, Draw Poker and Three card Poker.

Online:

Operating a real money virtual casino within our borders is risky, because if you were to do so, you would be obligated to market your products outside the Australian borders. However, there are hundreds of sites that are licensed and registered offshore that cater to the AUD, many of which offer downloadable and instant-play software – and playing their games for real money is completely legal.

Games offered at online casinos are basically the same as those offered at live venues, but they have a significantly larger variety. You can expect to see countless variations of Blackjack and Roulette, including (but not limited to) European, Atlantic City, Vegas Strip, Double Attack, Double Exposure and live dealer Blackjack, Super Fun 21 and Spanish 21, along with roulette variants such as European, American and French Roulette, Roulette Royale, and live dealer Roulette.

Slot Machines/Pokies

Offline:

Poker machines, or pokies as they’re famously referred as in Australia, are the most popular method of gambling across the country. Commonly found in casinos, pubs and bars, Australia possesses over 20% of the world’s gaming machines, as reported by the Productivity Commission. Regulatory laws are issued by the governmental bodies in the State or Territory in question, but still must adhere to guidelines imposed by the National government.

Pokie Games at All Slots
Currently, regulatory reforms of pokies are focused on venue-based voluntary pre-commitment programs. However, we make a point of emphasising that regardless of the outcome of these fickle governmental policies, playing the pokies will remain legal.

Online:

The size of the online pokies market would surprise you. There are hundreds upon hundreds of online pokies and slots available to Australians at any time of any day. The websites we recommend each have fun and popular titles, and are powered by Microgaming, who offer pristine graphics and quality. Legally, these are all offered by offshore casinos, but are totally legal to play at as an Australian citizen.

Poker

Offline:

Texas Hold’em, one of the world’s most popular card games, along with its poker cousins, are prominent in Australia. Crown plays host to some of the most prestigious tournaments in the world, including the Asia Pacific Poker Tour (APPT) and the Aussie Millions, and is home to the widest range of cash games in the country. The professional game has, in the last decade, become a global televised event, with the World Series Of Poker (WSOP), hosted by Caesars Entertainment; the most coveted and respected competition in the world. Australia has contributed significantly to the WSOP, most notably Joe Hachem, who won the Main Event title in 2005 and took home $7.5 million. Texas Hold’em and other variants are also popular across our pubs, with pub poker being a common pastime among many Aussie gamblers.

Online:

The rise in poker’s popularity has been due to the increasing amount of players who bet online for real money. While operating an interactive poker site here is, as we’ve mentioned, illegal, playing at licensed offshore sites such as Royal Vegas or Ruby Fortune is not. Many casinos like these, have a wide variety of poker tables open 24/7, along with live poker tables which utilize a video feed and have a real dealer and real cards.

Sports Betting

Offline:

Online sports betting has taken over and made it difficult for offline sportsbooks to thrive in a world where convenience is key to so many. There is one Australian company, called Tabcorp, a licensed Aussie gaming company, who own the Victorian and New South Wales TAB. There are approximately 2,900 TAB retail outlets, offering Totalisator and fixed odds wagering on sporting and racing events across NSW and Victoria, in hotels, pubs and clubs.

Online:

Using offshore online sportsbooks like Bet365 and William Hill are Australians best bet when trying to place a wager on a sporting event. Due to the laws prohibiting an Australian sportsbook from offering Australian’s a place to play would be too risky, all while the offshore, online books are safe and legal.

Live/In-Play Wagering:

Recently, live or in-play betting online has been outlawed in Australia, now considered to be an ‘interactive’ bet, which the I.G.A. prohibits. Australian bookies can no longer offer live bets online, however punters can still call and place in-play wagers over the phone. But don’t forget, there are overseas bookmakers who accommodate Australian punters and offer in-play bets on their sites, unrestricted by I.G.A. laws.

Bingo/Housie

Offline:

Bingo, also known as Housie, is totally legal in Australia, and often used for fundraising and charity ventures. In addition, large bingo halls can be found across the country, where players have the opportunity to win cash prizes and compete against thousands of other people. Housie is not the same as American Bingo (popular in the North America), though the two games do share some similarities.

Online:

Some online casinos do offer computer-simulated Bingo and other very enjoyable variations, such as Ballistic Bingo and Super Bonus Bingo. Other dedicated bingo platforms invite us to deposit real Australian dollars using one of their several easy methods (VISA, MasterCard, Skrill, POLi, bank/wire transfers), take advantage of welcome bonuses and promotions, and buy tickets to join real live-scheduled community Bingo games with other players, competing for the chance to win huge progressive jackpots.

National Lotteries, Keno and Other Lottery-Type Games

Offline:

There are several different authorised lotteries running down-under, regulated by these Aussie lottery companies:

  • Tatts Group Limited, which operates under the name “Tatts” serves Tasmania, Victoria, the ACT and NT, and governs Queensland’s Golden Casket Lottery Corporation, and the New South Wales Lotteries, owns the following national lotteries: Saturday Lotto and Monday & Wednesday Lotto, Oz Lotto, Powerball, Super 66, and is the proprietor of Victorian and Tasmanian state Keno games.
  • South Australian Lotteries, a State government-owned corporation, owns and administrates the SA Lotto and Keno, and The Soccer Pools are determined based on football match results around the world.
  • Lotterywest, is also a State government-owned lottery company (Western Australia) that manages the WA-exclusive lottery game, Cash 3.

Instants, also known as “scratchies,” where players scratch cards to reveal matching numbers or codes to win cash prizes, are also offered by most lottery companies. Scratchies purchased in one State cannot be exchanged in another.

Tabcorp also operates Keno draws in licensed venues and TABs in NSW, Victoria and Queensland. There are approximately 3,650 Keno outlets across those three States.

Online:

We can access AUD friendly offshore platforms such as Ruby Fortune, Royal Vegas, Spin Palace, and Jackpot City to play several diverse Keno games, as well as indulge in various scratch cards. Additionally, Oz Lotteries, the exclusive Australian distributor of lotto tickets online, allow us to purchase many different kinds of tickets to any or all of the above lottos, view results, join syndicates and earn points for discounts. As previously stated, Oz Lotteries is not allowed to offer scratchies.

The Present State & Future of Gambling Down-Under

Andrew Wilkie and Nick Xenophon have been the two main Australian voices for anti-gambling legislation, and have continuously campaigned to remove pokie machines entirely.

Andrew Wilkie and Nick XenophonWhen the labour government held power, it returned some support to Wilkie and Xenophon, legislating mandatory pre-commitment technology, rather than full blown extinction of slot machines. This technology was tested and would force players to utilise smart-cards to play pokies, with the machine checking to make sure that players were not banned from playing, and had not surpassed loss limits set by the players themselves.

However, current Prime Minister Tony Abbott and the Liberal Party have made it clear they are opposed to such restrictions, claiming the jurisdiction-wide approach is too costly and would be ineffective. As previously explained, the Coalition is more concerned with encouraging gaming venues to partner with counselling services to assist patrons. They also support a voluntary pre-commitment system for gaming machines, working with the appropriate venues on a timetable for such measures. Abbott explained Labor’s mandatory pokies pre-commitment trial was forced upon the public without sufficient consultation with State and Territory governing bodies, which hold primary control of gambling regulations. The Coalition will also abolish the National Supervisory Levy.

In regards to wagering online, where the Gillard-Government opted to relax on such regulations, the Abbott-Government aims to tighten the laws. The Coalition believes offshore sites which accommodate Australian players do not comply with the IGA conditions, so a review to strengthen the restrictions has been called for. Reforms to ban Internet poker and in-play betting remain in place, however, that does not mean Australian bettors cannot partake in such services offered via foreign organisations. What the Coalition stands to review and possibly change about overseas-based virtual casinos and sports betting websites is, as yet, unknown, but rest assured, no alterations will be large enough to completely disallow us from punting with our own dollars online.

What is central to understand is this: it continues to be 100 per cent lawful for us to access, utilise, and most importantly, enjoy legitimate wagering websites.

State Regulated Gaming Bodies

Our national government oversees policies for countrywide online and offline wagering, however each State/Territory within our country has its own gaming committee with specific sets of rules and regulations, and they hold primary sway.

Related Australian Gambling Law Articles

Here is a list of related articles we have published in regards to online betting in Australia: