Facts about gambling in Australia

Gambling has become part of the culture in Australia, carrying with it both advantages and disadvantages. If you are looking to bet in any way, shape or form within Australia, it is imperative to familiarise yourself with the rules and regulations surrounding gambling in the country. This page will guide you through several important facts about the topic.

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Fact #1: The age limit for gambling in Australia is 18

You must be 18 years or older to partake in any sort of real money gambling in Australia. Whether it be sports betting, casino gambling, tipping competitions or lottery tickets, you need proof of identity that confirms you are at least 18 years of age. This age restriction is applicable across the nation.

Fact #2: The Australian gambling/gaming industry is regulated at a state/territory level

Although the Commonwealth has taken up a larger role in the regulation of gambling due to the increased activity in betting via the Internet, Australian state and territory authorities still regulate the industry within their own jurisdictions.

  • Australian Capital Territory – ACT Gambling and Racing Commission
  • New South Wales – New South Wales Office of Liquor, Gaming and Racing
  • Northern Territory – Licensing Commission
  • Queensland – Office of Liquor and Gaming Regulation
  • South Australia – Independent Gambling Authority
  • Tasmania – Tasmanian Gaming Commission
  • Victoria – Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation
  • Western Australia – Department of Racing, Gaming and Liquor

What about gambling taxes?: Winnings from any form of gambling are not taxed, because gambling is not considered a profession, nor is it seen as a form of income. Gambling is considered a recreational activity. State and territory governments tax gambling operators, instead.

Fact #3: Land based betting in Australia is legal and widespread

There are hundreds of venues throughout Australia that allow some form of gambling, including casinos, TABs (totalisator wagering outlets), pubs, hotels, clubs, sporting arenas, newsagencies, bingo halls and other locations. Each venue requires a gaming/gambling license to offer its gambling products. Many of the favourite gambling past-times enjoyed throughout Australian gaming venues include:

Melbourne’s Crown Casino is the largest casino in the Southern Hemisphere and one of the most iconic attractions in the country.

Fact #4: It’s legal to bet at real money online casinos in Australia

Australian online gambling laws and guidelines are outlined by the Interactive Gambling Act (IGA) of 2001, passed by the Australian Commonwealth Parliament and approved by the Prime Minister at the time, John Howard. The Act suggests the following:

Interactive Gambling Act 2001It is illegal for Internet gambling operators to advertise or offer real money online interactive gambling services to residents of Australia (such as online casino and poker games). This rule applies to both Australian-owned and foreign-owed operators, regardless as to whether they are based in the country or offshore. The term ‘interactive’ refers to Internet poker, Internet casino games (like video slots, blackjack, roulette, baccarat, sic bo, et cetera), Internet instant win scratch cards and live online sports betting.

But what is most important to the punter is it is 100 per cent legal for Australian residents aged 18 years and older to access online ‘interactive’ gambling sites, and enjoy the real money gaming services provided. There remain numerous foreign-owned and offshore interactive gambling operators that continue to market their real cash online gaming services to the Australian public, and while technically in violation of the IGA, they have never really faced any serious threats or consequences.

November 2016 IGA proposed amendment:

In November 2016, the Interactive Gambling Amendment Bill was submitted by the Coalition government to he Australian parliament. It largely concerned itself with offshore wagering. The proposed amendment to the IGA called for the implementation of a National Consumer Protection Framework (a specific set of laws) that would be required to be met by all licensed Internet gambling and wagering operators, and also recommended a prohibition on the offshore/foreign-owned ‘interactive’ online gaming operators that were providing their real money services illegally to Australians.

The Interactive Gambling Amendment Bill 2016 clarifies the following: “The introduction of additional enforcement measures and making it unlawful for wagering operators to provide online wagering services to persons present in Australia in the absence of having an Australian wagering license.”

Following the introduction of the Amendment Bill, the popular and reputable online casino Vera&John – a gaming platform geared towards Australian players – told its Australian customers that it would no longer be offering its services in the Australian jurisdiction.

While the proposed changes to the IGA may yet force more offshore interactive gaming operators to pull their services and products from the Aussie market, Australians wishing to continue to play real cash online poker and casino games will be legally allowed to do so – and can do so via offshore licensed and reputable casino sites.

Read more about the online gambling laws relating to online pokies.

Fact #5: Live online sports betting is also under review

According to the Amendment Bill, the controversial ‘click to call’ live betting feature that was offered by multiple licensed online sports betting agencies is also under review, to ensure operators comply with the original intent of the Interactive Gambling Act (which deems it unlawful for operators to make available betting services via the Internet, on events that have already commenced).

The ‘click to call’ feature allowed punters to use their smart phones to ring through to an automated voice service that would guide customers through a couple of steps (carried out via the smart phone’s dial pad) to place a live/in-play wager.

Fact #6: Sports betting, lotteries and keno will remain legal

Online sports betting and online lottery/keno betting, through agencies licensed to operate in Australia, will continue to be able to offer their products and services to Aussies, regardless as to what happens with the Amendment Bill.

Final thoughts

Australians may be confused as to what makes some forms of online gambling ‘interactive’ and other forms not – online sports betting and online lotto wagering not; online casino betting and online poker gambling are – and why the government is adamant on restricting some forms and not others. The confusion is certainly of merit.

It would seemingly make more sense for the government to introduce legislation that would permit any kind of real money gaming operator to apply for an ‘interactive’ gambling license in Australia. And then, Australians would be able to gamble online with companies registered here. The government would also be able to tax those operators accordingly, like it currently does with companies such as Sportsbet and OzLotteries. Rather, the Australian online gambling laws remain some of the most complicated and messy regulations in the world.

For a full list of 100% legal and licensed real money online casinos catering to Australian players, take a look at our official reviews of the best and safest sites to play.

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