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A Guide to Gambling in Victoria

Home to Melbourne and some 6 million of the country’s population, Victoria is packed with people who enjoy the occasional bet, in both physical gambling venues and online. Gambling in Victoria is entirely legal, like the rest of Australia, and the legislation in this area aims to regulate gambling providers, rather than individual players looking for a flutter.

While the government has taken steps to regulate to ‘reduce the harm caused to individual gamblers’ through the types of gambling services they allow within Australian borders, it is practically very difficult for Australian regulators to prevent international casinos, poker sites and sportsbooks from offering the same services to Aussie gamblers as they do to the rest of the world. Essentially, as an Aussie gambler you have nothing to fear – the law is on your side, wherever and however you choose to gamble online.

Gambling Laws in Victoria
The Interactive Gambling Act 2001 sets out the legal framework for gambling service providers in Australia. The Act makes it an offense to offer or advertise interactive gambling services to Australian customers, with hefty fines in place for providers who breach these rules. But given that most online casinos are not based within Australian borders, and therefore not in practice subject to these rules, players across the state are free to sign up with any betting site of their choosing, including those offering interactive gambling games and in-play betting options.
Australian gamblers enjoy total freedom to gamble online and on mobile, and through any gambling platform they choose – whether it’s a traditional online casino, and global sportsbook with in-play betting, or one of the big international poker rooms. The law only affects Australian based gambling operators – and even when it does, its effect for players is minimal.

Sports Betting
Sports betting sites are largely exempt from the Act, which primarily deals with interactive types of gambling. Australian bookies are prevented from offering in-play or live odds as an online service, which have been strictly outlawed by the Act. Bookies can offer this service via phone betting or via retail services such as TABs. The Australian Government has promised to legislate against ‘Click To Call’ betting, which several bookmakers had promoted as an alternative. As a result, most providers have withdrawn this service.

Many of the international providers cater directly to Australian gamblers, with Aussie bonuses and incentives to sign up. They can provide the same access to Australian players as to their customers in the UK, Europe and elsewhere in the world, circumventing the Act and making it possible to bet on moving, in-play odds if that’s your thing.

Alternatively, if you sign up with an Australian bookie online, you will not be able to access in-play odds, but can still freely bet on any sporting event as normal.

Casino Gambling
Any gambling operator based in Australia would have significant difficulty establishing an online casino, due to the restrictions of the Act. All online casino games like blackjack and roulette are deemed ‘interactive’ within the definition of the Act, so Australian gambling providers are prohibited from offering or advertising these games to Australian players.

For individual players, the picture couldn’t be more different. Online casinos based offshore and internationally are practically free to offer Australian players the same access to their casino games, so you can play and bet as you would if you were based anywhere else in the world. This is entirely legitimate and legal, and you are free to win from your gambling as you would be in any jurisdiction with legal gambling worldwide.

Pokies/Slots
Pokies are hugely popular online and on mobile, and Australian gamblers too are drawn to the prize winning potential of fixed odds video slots. While there are regulations for physical slot machines, online players are likewise free to play their favourite slots games online without any hassle or difficulty.

You are even eligible to win progressive jackpots from your play – there is no limit on what you can win, or the types of games you can play as an individual, so you have total freedom to gamble on pokies as you see fit.

Poker
Poker is massive in Australia, even though by definition companies aren’t allowed to offer online poker to Aussies. That’s their problem, not yours, and in practice no government has ever attempted to stop international poker sites from offering accounts to Australian players. And plenty of Aussies win money playing poker online, so there is absolutely nothing to worry about.

The poker sites themselves even actively market to Australian players, offering huge bonuses, loyalty programs and other benefits, which you’re free to take advantage of when you sign up to play online.

The Verdict – Don’t Worry About It
Gambling of any kind in Victoria is legitimate and legal in the eyes of the law, so you have nothing to fear from gambling anywhere online. If you were an Australian based casino, you would view the law differently – it’s regulatory effect is to limit the profitability of casinos and the range of services domestic operators can offer to domestic customers. But even Australian based gambling sites are allowed to offer interactive gambling to non-Australian customers, so the Act really only limits a small portion of gambling operators and their businesses.
Whether you’re a fan of sports betting, casino games, poker or pokies, you are free to place your bets and win without any legal worries.