Australia has one of the highest gambling rates in the world with over 80% of the population engaging in some form of gambling. The regulatory climate for live betting has always been favorable while the government has less embraced online gaming.
Today we’ll cover Australian gambling laws for live and online gambling, including where you can legally gamble in Australia and which forms of online gambling are legal.
Every state and territory in Australia has legalized live gambling, and there is at least one casino in each region. Casino gambling offers a wide variety of gambling products ranging from pokies to blackjack and poker. The Crown Melbourne in Victoria is perhaps the most well-known Australian casino in the world thanks to their annual Aussie Millions poker tournament series.
Most territories except for Western Australia allow live gambling in hotels while Victoria, Queensland and New South Wales all offer gaming in local nightclubs. Also, much of Australia offers sports betting, including in-game sports betting.
Most gambling regulation in Australia is made at the state or territorial level rather than by Parliament. Each area handles their regulation and below is a list of the organizations that regulate gambling in each location.
In addition to the above organizations, the Australian Communications and Media Authority is the watchdog of iGaming advertising over Australia. They manage a formal complaint process where citizens can report any advertising violations by operators. They cover all of Australia.
Australia was one of the first countries to address the legality of online gambling and did so back in 2001 with the Interactive Gambling Act of 2001 (IGA). The law intended to protect the general public from the adverse effects of online gambling.
The law was designed to target online gambling operators. Under the law, it’s illegal to:
This law prohibits the majority of online gambling ranging from pokies to roulette, blackjack, and online poker. One thing that it does not ban is auto racing and sports betting, provided that betting is not conducted in-game.
Any operator offering services to Australia or from Australia is subject to steep penalties ranging from $220,000 per day for individuals operating the iGaming company to $1.1 million per day for the company itself.
Another exception to the rule is online lotteries. These are illegal except for instant-win scratch cards. These are similar to what you find at online casinos and therefore is not permitted by lottery operators.
The IGA does not presently criminalize placing bets at online gambling sites. There are no penalties for Australians playing at online casinos or online poker sites.
This bill was a significant change in gambling policy for Australia as Parliament mainly stayed out of iGaming legislation. However, with the changing face of online gambling and new technologies being regularly released, they decided to act.
In the years following the passage of the IGA, online gambling companies quickly found some loopholes they could exploit to allow in-game betting, primarily by enabling customers to call in their bets over the phone.
Also, specific online gambling sites continued to offer products such as online poker to Australian customers because of certain legal ambiguities in the code. The Australian Parliament decided to take action, and the Interactive Gambling Amendment Bill 2016 was drafted and ultimately passed.
This bill not only closed the loopholes associated with the law but also put specific sites such as PokerStars and partypoker on notice as the Australian Communications and Media Authority threatened to share violations by these companies to other licensing bodies, including the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement who controls the iGaming licenses in the state. The DGE promised to impose penalties to the companies that operated in New Jersey and still chose to offer services to Australia. As a result, sites such as PokerStars pulled out of Australia in September 2017.
If you are looking for legal gambling products in Australia, your only option is going to be in live casinos and other licensed businesses such as hotels and nightclubs. Below are the types of games you’ll find across Australia.
Below are common questions we receive about online casino gambling in Australia.
Presently, the only form of online gambling that’s completely legal in Australia is betting on auto racing, sports betting, and online lottery. Sports betting and betting on auto racing is only legal provided the betting is not done in-game.
All other forms of online gambling are prohibited in Australia.
No. Online gambling laws in Australia are targeted at companies and not those placing bets at sites. It is not illegal for you to bet at an online casino.
Generally, no they are not. The only exception to this rule is if you are a professional gambler. In this case, your winnings are subject to income tax. Recreational players don’t have to worry about taxes.