Legality of Online Casinos in Australia

Overview of the Australian Gambling

The history of Australian gambling can be dated back to 1810 and to a given extent, quite a good number of historians believe that gambling began in Australia. Beginning with the game of “Two-Up” in which two fair coins facing tails and heads would be tossed and the players would bet on the outcome, gambling in Australia has taken several twists and turns, with the Australian government illegalizing it at given times and further setting in place provisions for gambling at certain points. As a matter of fact, the first ever casino to be played in Australia was set up in 1973, marking the first time of legalization of casino games such as roulette and blackjack. Apart from horse betting, however, the State of Victoria, which happens to be one of the best betting places in Australia at the moment, criminalized other forms of gambling like pokies and casino games.

It remains a surprise that upon the legalization of pokies in 1991 by Kirner’s government, crown casino among others, became a major revenue generator whose proceeds collectively helped in running a number of government parastatals. The legislation of Australian gambling acts in the 21st century further created a favorable environment for online gambling players even though it bared casino operators in Australia from legally operating. At the moment, gambling has become so deeply rooted in the Australian culture that even famous musicians have composed songs in its favor. So then, what are some of the prevailing laws regarding online casinos in Australia?

The 2001 Interactive Gambling Act

In 2001, the Australian Commonwealth Parliament passed this legislation which despite targeting the online casino operators, was geared towards offering protection to the general public who had been noted to suffer adverse harming effects of gambling. Whereas this act still reserved room for Australians to participate in online casinos, it typically bared the poker operators from offering real-money virtual gambling to any resident within the Australian borders. Subsequently, the parliamentary act also hampered the advertising of real money internet gambling games in any form of media. To further discourage the art of gambling, penalties were set such that subject to a violation of this act, an individual violator would pay a fine amounting to $220,000 per day while a violating company would part with a fine to the tune of $1.1 million per day. Given the fact that sports betting weren’t restricted by this act, the gambling operators in Australia were allowed to offer their services to the designated countries. The restrictions were equally not imposed on the online lotteries provided the operators acquires the mandatory licensing and further refrained from offering virtual scratch-off cards.

Adjustments to the 2001 Interactive Gambling Act

The changes to the gambling act came into existence upon the appointment of Tudge as the Australian Human Service Minister. Being charged with the responsibility of aligning the Australia’s $20 billion gambling industry with the modern trends, Tudge worked with zeal to introduce relevant subsections to the gambling act in a bid to obtain the craved standards. This led to the introduction of the following sub-sections in the gambling act:

  • A requirement that the online bookmakers hold out pre-commitment schemes to the clients
  • Betters of sports to be able to join any online self-exclusion register of their choice for a period of their own determination, provided it is not less than three months
  • Virtual sports-books refrain from offering free bets or lines of credit to their clients based in Australia.

The 2016 Interactive Gambling Bill

This bill, which was, in essence, introduced in the year 2016, was passed in March 2017 by the Australian senate. It came at a time when a number of prominent gambling operators such as 888Poker, Vera & John, and 32Red had withdrawn from the Australian gambling market. This bill features the following sections addressing the gambling industry:

  • Banning of advertisements related to gambling during live sporting events.
  • Restriction of punters from wagering on a sporting event that is underway. This legislation, which is also commonly known as siren-to-siren ban, is meant to counter the live sport betting which is naturally addictive.
  • Imposing a ban on any form of iGaming, that is not considered as legal within the boundaries of Australia. This would, in essence, include other forms of gambling activities in addition to the virtual sports gambling.
  • Restriction of offshore gambling operators from offering services to Australians without prior acquisition of licenses from oz. As a matter of fact, violators of this act would have their IP’s blocked and subsequently subjected to various civil penalties.

Going by the aforementioned acts of Australia, there are generally no laws barring any Australian citizen in participating in online gambling games such as casino. As such, it is completely at the discretion of the aspiring gamblers to choose the best offshore gambling sites that best suit their interests. As online casino isn’t regulated within Australia, any player who encounters a problem can freely approach a local authority for assistance without fearing that any legal action could be taken against them.

It is also notable that Australia has considerably fair taxation laws on gambling. The Australian law does consider that in gambling, there are equal chances of winning and losing. As such, it does not impose any tax on gamblers even when they win. The government only taxes the gamble game operators. At the moment, some of the best online casino operators that offer services to Australians are: Planet 7 Casino, Joe Fortune, Fair Go, Drake, Raging Ball, Desert Nights, Mandarin Palace, and Black Diamond

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