Australian Gambling Laws – A Detailed Look At Which Laws Come Into Play

Australian Flag IconGambling is a very popular pastime among Aussies, and hence is a thriving industry for the nation. Both online and offline gambling entertainment is present in Australia, with various levels of governmental oversight regarding regulation, licensing and operational directives. This section of our guide is designed to provide you with information about the gambling laws in Australia, and how they pertain to you as a player. We cover both online and offline gambling laws, and offer a helpful FAQ section that really breaks down the elements that most people have questions about. The legal landscape of gambling can be a complex maze to navigate, and its our job to break the information down into easy to understand, bite sized facts that enable our Aussie players to make informed decisions regarding their involvement in this type of entertainment.

Land Based Gambling Laws in Australia

The popularity of gambling in Australia is evident in the range of options available to players. From posh casinos to popular pub pokies, there is something for everyone. Australian gambling law permits a variety of casino games, including slots, pokies (video poker), keno and poker. There are a number of brick and mortar casinos down under as well as slots and pokies located at pubs, restaurants and other retail locations. Also allowed are specific forms of sports betting, bingo, lottery and racing.

Gambling laws applying to brick and mortar gambling entertainment are regional specific. The majority of gambling regulation, licensing and operational directives are administered via individual state and territorial jurisdictions. National oversight is administered through the Australian Commonwealth, though from a minimalistic approach. You can learn more about the regulation of legal land based gambling on our page about Regional Gambling Laws in Australia.

Online Gambling Laws in Australia

Online gambling, or interactive gambling as Australia terms it, is one area where the Commonwealth has gotten more involved from a national regulatory standpoint. The onset of technological advances within the gambling industry brought Australia face to face with Internet gambling sites. In 2001, the Interactive Gambling Act was passed by the Australian Commonwealth in an effort to protect Aussie residents from questionable gambling environments, and to curtail illegal, unlicensed gambling activity online. The IGA effectively prohibits Australian based online gambling sites from offering their services to Aussie players. It is not illegal for an online gambling site to operate within Australia, however these businesses can only legally offer their services to players outside of the nation’s borders.

The IGA’s original language permitted online sports betting sites, but was vague on online casinos and poker. As a result, both licensed and unlicensed iGaming operators were able to service Aussie residents for over 15 years. However, thing changed with the signing of the Interactive Gambling Amendment Bill of 2016. The amendment sought to clarify the vague language of the original IGA and effectively blocks all offshore online casino and poker brands, unless they obtain an Australian gaming license as well. However, the bill offers no formal avenue for interested casino or poker operators to apply for proper the credentials which would allow them to legally enter the market. Thankfully, the Northern Australian Territory has spoken up about their license application process which will grant Aussie gaming licenses to international gaming brands.

Some online poker brands have already pulled out of the Aussie market, even before the bill hit to the House floor. PokerStars, one of whom were last to remain, announced its withdrawal from the market – effective September 11th, 2017. The Australian Senate’s Environment and Communications References Committee heard from local players, lawmakers and other stakeholders on the current status of online poker in the nation. However, despite the pro-online poker community’s efforts to prove legalized online poker would be more beneficial than a looming ban, the Committee’s report did not meet the pro-poker advocates’ expectations and only delayed online poker legislation. The report which was due by September 21st, 2017 is now publicly accessible online. As things stand now, the amendment granted the Australian government plenty of authority on enforcing online gambling brands with few caveats here and there.

Australian Gambling Law FAQ’s

Is it legal for Aussie players to participate in online gambling?

Due to new legislation, online casino gambling and online poker is not available either domestically or from licensed offshore destinations, this is due to the need for these platforms to obtain an Australian gaming license from either a State or Territory. However, there are few channels offering licensing for offshore casino and poker brands. Online sports betting, bingo and lottery games are still permitted as long as the destination at which you are betting is licensed and regulated. When the new bill became law, these restrictions became official. While we hate to be the bearer of bad news, the purpose of our guide legal gambling Australia is to provide accurate and up to date information to Australian citizens seeking information about gambling entertainment.

Who regulates gambling in Australia?

For the most part, individual states and territories within Australia are responsible for regulatory oversight of the industry for their region. The exception is online gambling, a gaming venue that is subject to the Interactive Gambling Act and the Interactive Gambling Amendment Bill of 2016. These laws were passed and are regulated by the Commonwealth of Australia, meaning that it is a piece of legislation that spans the entire country.

Can I play in AUD dollars?

Most of the legal gambling sites accepting Australian players also accept AUD currency for transactions. This will include both deposits and payouts. Should a gambling site you visit not conduct business in AUD, they likely have a conversion mechanism in place so that you can still deposit using the Australian Dollar, or access to a deposit method that takes care of the currency conversion for you.

What types of online gambling can Australian players legally participate in?

Aussie players are able to legally engage in a variety of online gambling platforms. There are a few exceptions to the IGA and the Interactive Gambling Amendment Bill, including sports betting, bingo and lottery purchases. This means that Australian based gambling sites and licensed offshore gambling sites are allowed to offer these types of gambling options to Aussie residents. When it comes to casino games such as slots and pokies, or poker games for real money, players can no longer legally access offshore online casinos or poker sites unless said site applies for and is granted an Australian gaming licenses as well.

The recommended gambling sites in this guide are all legally licensed, regulated and accept Australian players. They have also all been vetted by our analysts and are among the leading gambling destinations on the Internet, delivering a high quality betting experience and exceptional bonus offers. However, we feel compelled to tell you that while the government may lack the ability to track and/or enforce the new law, the Interactive Gambling Amendment Bill does make it illegal to gamble for real money at offshore online casinos and poker sites who are not simultaneously licensed by the Australian government. Therefore, if you choose to still engage in offshore online gambling from a destination only holding one license, you risk being in violation of Australia’s gambling laws.

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