Gambling online in Australia is regulated by the Interactive Gambling Enforcement Act passed by the government in 2001. What exactly does it entail? Foreign-based online casinos aren’t allowed to offer real-money games nor can they advertise their products (online casino games, online poker or sports betting) to Australian citizens.
Australian gaming companies are not allowed to target the country’s citizens although it’s not against the law to target citizens outside Australia. The same rule applies to operators licensed in other jurisdictions, problem is many operators disregarded this law simply because it’s difficult to enforce.
Despite the current legislation that outlaws online gambling, there’s no law that prohibits Australian online casino games whether it’s for free of for real cash. In a nutshell; it’s above board to offer free games to Australians, Australian sites aren’t allowed to offer casino games for real money and Australian operators can offer real-money games to foreign-based players.
What Does Australian Law Say About Online Casino Games?
Unlike the United States where online casino gambling is regulated on a state-by-state basis, in Australia it’s regulated at Federal level. The Interactive Gaming Act of 2001 stipulates that as long as Australians play the games for free it’s perfectly legal. Online casinos are not allowed to offer real cash games to Australians neither are they allowed to advertise them.
What makes it even more complicated is that operators licensed in Australia are allowed to target international players while operators licensed abroad still target Aussie players – this is against the law because it falls under the Interactive Gaming Act.
Poker In Australia
Poker is another popular casino game in Australia, a distinction has to be made between pokies (slot machines) and poker. Pokies are the bulk of an online casinos’ game library. The Australian government points out that one in six pokie players are problem gamblers. With that being said it’s okay to operate video poker machines but not pokie machines.
Real-table poker is another popular game but real-cash poker games are illegal. To the best of our knowledge no international poker site has been prosecuted yet because it targeted Australian players – the law says residents can play at poker sites licensed abroad. One of the main reasons why players prefer to play at poker sites licensed in other jurisdictions is because their rakes are lower.
Sports Betting In Australia
Sports Betting is legal in the country but not in-play betting.
Online sports betting differs from other forms of regulation, it’s legal at land-based venues and betting shops, Australian residents are allowed to participate in it. When it comes to online betting sites the water becomes slightly muddled.
The Interactive Gaming Act of 2001 prohibits betting for real money, this is why Australian sports betting sites aren’t allowed to offer live in-play betting be it online or offline. The same rule applies to online betting sites licensed abroad. Many operators continue to flout this law and no company has been prosecuted to date.
Gambling With Bitcoin Australia
The Interactive Gaming Act prevents casinos from offering real money casino games to Australian customers. It’s interesting to note that Bitcoin is legal because it’s deemed property and the transactions made with it is seen as barter.
The crux of the matter is if a player has Bitcoin he or she can easily play online casino games for real cash since there’s no gambling law that prevents them from doing it.
In addition Bitcoin is secure, decentralized, circumvents online gambling laws, anonymous, transaction fees are low and safe to use.
Except for instant-win Lottery is legal in Australia. As a matter of fact there are many Australian companies that offer lottery games such as Powerball, scratch cards, keno and TattsLotto, they also have an online presence where players can purchase lottery tickets.
However, the Interactive Gaming Act bans instant-win products like scratch cards because it sees it as interactive gaming. Australian players can purchase instant-win scratch cards online since there is no law that currently prevents them from doing it. They can also buy scratch cards at international sites because most of them are still oblivious to the rules imposed by the government.
In summary. The sole purpose of the Interactive Gaming Act is to protect Australia’s citizens from unscrupulous operators and the effects of excessive gambling. As it is the Bill can’t prevent Australian residents from gambling at internet casinos which makes it legal to a degree.
Furthermore, there are numerous reputable online casinos that still accept Australian players. Not only do they offer a plethora of instant play/downloadable casino games that are mobile friendly, players earn comps every time they play, offer many deposit and withdrawal methods, rebate on losses, regular promotions and tiered VIP programs.