Are online pokies legal in Australia?

If you’re considering making the move to play the pokies online but are wary about the laws surrounding real money virtual gambling, you’re not alone. The Australian laws regarding online gambling can be confusing to say the least, leaving many players scratching their heads as to whether what they’re doing is legal or not, while others are deterred entirely out of uncertainty.

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We’ve written this article to clear up any confusion and before we delve into the how’s and why’s, the take home message is that as long as you’re over 18 years of age and play at a properly licensed venue operating on international soil, it is technically legal for Australians to play real money pokies online.

Safe and legal online casinos for Aussie players

Like many Internet ventures, not all online casinos are created equally and there are plenty of rogue operators out there. As it can be hard for newbies to differentiate the trustworthy and legal sites, we’ve explored the Web to recommend the leading casinos in our table above, which are all highly reputable, fully licensed and authorised by leading gambling industry bodies.

Each of these casinos are run on foreign land by international vendors, which makes these venues legal for Aussies to play real money pokies.

While run internationally, each of these venues warmly accept players from Australia and allow deposits in AUD. Signing up for an online pokies account is free, easy and will only take a couple of minutes. When registering with any of the above venues for the first time you’ll also receive some great welcome bonuses like matched deposits and free spins.

There are hundreds of pokies available at these secure venues including progressive jackpot pokies, video slots, 3D pokies, three reel slots and five reel slots, from leading software providers like Microgaming, NetEnt, BetSoft, Rival, iSoftBet, Play’n Go, Next Gen Gaming and many more.

Interactive Gambling Act 2001 (IGA)

So, what makes the above mentioned casinos legal and others not?

The rules and regulations pertaining to Australians gambling online all comes down the legislation set out in the Interactive Gambling Act (IGA) of 2001. The IGA was set up by the then Howard government in an attempt to curb problem gambling by keeping gambling offline and out of the houses of Australian families. To date, there are several prominent politicians who continue to fight against online gambling.

John HowardWhen the IGA was passed, it made it illegal for any Australian run online gambling operator to offer any real money services to Australian residents, while also making it illegal for operators to advertise or promote their services to Australian residents across any form of media (print, web, etc).

In a nutshell, this makes it illegal for any Aussie casino offering real money interactive games like the pokies, blackjack, roulette, video poker or other table games to offer its services to Australian citizens.

The grey area here is the legislation set by the IGA only relates to the borders of Australia, so there’s nothing to restrict Aussie punters from playing real money pokies at casinos run internationally. The casinos like the ones recommended on our site are all run offshore following the strict laws of the country they are licensed by, where online gambling is perfectly legal. These offshore casinos offer a safe, trustworthy and 100% legal place for Aussies to play real money pokies and other real money casino games.

Players needn’t be concerned about their safety playing at foreign venues as these casinos are protected by authoritative gambling bodies like eCOGRA (eCommerce Online Gaming Regulation and Assurance) which is a UK based internationally approved testing and player protection agency which exists to control online gambling standards worldwide.

If you’re unsure about how to tell whether a casino is based offshore or not, simply stick to any of the venues recommended here as all casinos endorsed on our site are internationally owned, legally licensed and welcome players from Australia.

Future of online gaming in Australia

Ever since the introduction of the Interactive Gambling Act in 2001, there’s been a lot of talk about whether the rules should be made even stricter, or whether to relax the laws a bit instead. While the main aim of the IGA is to limit growth of problem gambling, the murky legislation legally allowing Australians to gamble at offshore casinos means Australian businesses and government are missing out on a lot of revenue and tax dollars. Aussies are spending their money anyway, but without the benefit of supporting local operators or being protected by any industry watchdogs in our own country.

It is now fully legal for Australians to place real money bets online with sports bettors and lottery services, making it seem quite bizarre casino games remain off limits. As the IGA hasn’t been formally reviewed since 2001, there has been many changes to technology and the online gambling industry, so a review is imminent.

In 2015, the Australian Federal Government announced a review was underway as to the impact of offshore wagering in a bid to ensure Australians are protected from any illegal offshore activity but whether or not it means the IGA is up for review remains unclear.

As it stands the future of online gambling is anyone’s guess, but the important thing to remember is as long as a casino is legally licensed by an offshore jurisdiction, it is entirely legal for Australians to play real money pokies there.

Land based pokies in Australia

If you’re not a fan of online gambling or you’re looking for a new place to play pokies in your local area, read our guide to where to play the pokies in real life in each state and territory around Australia:

For online players, we recommend as the top-rated casino site for players from United States, which has some excellent welcome bonuses available for new sign-ups.

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