A Serious Conversation About Gambling Laws In Australia

While Brits continue to perpetuate sportsbook and bingo in their history of the most popular pastimes in the country, gambling is growing forwards, targeting completely new markets thanks to loosening the laws related to casino going. A fresh era has begun when gambling operators do not have to fight with local authorities over licensing or other intricate matters allowing to bring betting to the masses. In fact, due to this liberation, Brits along with Americans should be much worried about their absolute status in the world because Australia has already grappled the iGaming market strenuously giving the green light to new names. What a few years earlier was quite close to the taboo now is gaining great momentum. Though, the landscape is still crammed with problems and restrictions.

It might be blatantly surprising, but it is Aussies who gamble per capita more than any other nation. As reported by The Economist, almost 80% of Australians engage in gambling once a year which is an incredible number of people to even think about. Of course, these data turn more and more high-class operators to the growing Australian market, but despite all the recent changes in the legislation, Aussies still have no chance to let their gambling beast out to the fullest. Some certain activities are proclaimed to be out of law, some web-based festivities remain in the safe harbour. As long as this article is going to discuss the situation from a different angle, this one (https://online-casinos-australia.com/online-gambling-laws-in-australia/) is much recommended for further reading. But in any case it’s quite time to clarify the situation on the law, gambling and the future of gambling.


Questions Of Legality – Is Gambling Online Currently Legal?


Again, with all mind-blowing moments considered, Australia was actually in the first row of the countries that decided to address the legality of gambling online. Since virtual casinos emerged out of blue and no one had any rights to control them, this posed a disastrous problem to the general public, but, mostly, to authorities whose sphere of influence could not be identified within that form of innovative gambling. In 2001 the Interactive Gambling Act came into being in order to reassert the control.


IGA And Consequences


The act primarily intended to protect Australians from the vicissitudes of gambling online. Before this breaking point any organization could freely accept funds and pay out winnings. The ones to suffer were online operators who have been banned from the following:


  • Offering interactive products from the ‘stop list’ to residents.

  • Distributing unlicensed products to residents.

  • Promoting and selling products to non-residents.


As you can probably see, the law tightened majorly Australian-based operators, prohibiting various formats of betting. Slot machines, online poker, even roulettes and Blackjack were turned into illegal products whereas sports betting and lotteries got a chance to live on. But. The IGA’s restrictions directly targeted domestic operators meaning ‘no more casinos established under the Australian flag’. Meanwhile, the law did not criminalize gambling on the whole – Aussies were free to place bets at online casinos regulated outside the country without any risk of being fined for ‘disobedience’.


Further Restrictions


However, the passage of the Act rather provided more space to online companies than put the situation under control. Since the law told zero nothing about foreign operators, the latter began exploiting that loophole to slip through. Allegedly prohibited interactive products such as pokies and poker were totally available to the Australian audience who also made use of the loophole.


So the Parliament took action to close these ‘ways out’, and the Amendment Bill was passed back in 2016, finally putting an end to all violations. Now anyone offering their services to Australia will be imposed to penalties.



And the bottom line is that the only online forms of gambling to remain legal in Australia are sportsbook, lottery and auto racing.


Anything falling behind this short list leads to being illegal. No more free-access pokies or omnipresent online poker rooms. That’s why newcomers to gambling from Australia might be wondering why there are still several operators catering for the market in spite of the act and the bill. Well, the answer isn’t shocking: these ‘venues’ go dodgy ways and will be banned as soon as detected. So if you happen to stumble upon an online casino that happily announces ‘we accept Australian players’, do not fall into the rabbit hole because the operator will be blocked in no time.


I Don’t Care, I Love It


It’s highly probable that a big share of Aussies would roll their eyes and sign up at casinos no matter what because for some of us there is nothing just as enjoyable as spinning the reels. Will you be severely punished if you play prohibited games at questionable places? No. The law aims at distributors, not those who utilize their services. So you can bet and do not be afraid of some masked black-ops team breaking into your flat because of a few rounds by illegal roulettes.




Finally, there’s one more issue to address – whether winnings are taxable or not. Even though money may come from dodgy sources, your income is not exempted from taxation. In case you represent yourself as a recreational gambler, you can live your life and never look back. But if your occupation has anything to do with professional gambling, you are accountable.


Is There Any Future?


In no case the Australian government means to destroy the online gambling market with the help of these right regulations – it is simple an outright method to manage the chaotic industry. If you are a pokie fanatic, you can visit land-based casinos anyway (they are not banned) and at the same time patiently wait for the law to obtain a new softer development.

Thank you, and enjoy your stay with us.

Tom Wilson, Editor.