The laws surrounding online gambling in Australia are generally covered by the Interactive gambling act of 2001, often referred to as the IGA. The act itself makes it a federal crime for Australian-based gambling operators to offer their services to Australian residents. At present, the only gambling activities permitted to be offered to Australians by Australian companies are sports betting and lottery games; it’s unlawful for casino games to be offered.
It might initially seem like bad news, but thankfully, there are now laws that prohibit Australian players from playing casino games online using overseas-based companies, so while it’s illegal for an Australian company to provide the service, players from Australia CAN – and do – enjoy casino games online!
This ‘grey area’ of the law has caused many Australians to get confused over whether they are allowed to gamble on overseas website – the simple answer is yes – there are no laws preventing Australians from playing at offshore casinos. In fact, recent data shows as many as 17% of Australians have gambled online, using an offshore casino, and with more and more casinos now accepting Australian players (and allowing them to play in the Australian dollar currency), it’s clear more people are beginning to realise it IS legal to play casino games online!
Australian Online Gambling Laws, Rules, and Regulations
The regulators for online gaming in Australia are partitioned into two levels. First, the main, Australian Government – they control the regulations themselves, and set about modifying legislation when necessary. In terms of issuing licenses, and ensuring Government legislation is covered, it’s done on a State-to-State level, with the relevant regulatory departments and their jurisdiction found below:
- ACT Gambling and Racing Commission – Australian Capital Territory
- Licensing Commission – Northern Territory
- Office of Liquor, Gaming and Racing – New South Wales
- Independent Gambling Authority – South Australia
- Office of Liquor and Gaming Regulation – Queensland
- Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation – Victoria
- Department of Racing, Gaming, and Liquor – Western Australia
- Tasmanian Gaming Commission – Tasmania
Each State/providence’s regulatory body is responsible for issuing the relevant licenses – although as mentioned earlier, this is limited to Sports Betting and Lottery-games only. So, How Can Australian Residents Play Casino Games Online? Thankfully, the Interactive Gambling Act makes no mention to it being a crime for Australian Citizens to play casino games online at websites hosted in other countries. In fact, there are a plethora of respectable casino names offering services to Australian residents, including (but not limited to) Royal Vegas, Joe Fortune, 7 Sultans, Jackpot City, and All Slots.
Australian players are free to play at any website they want, although one thing worth nothing is that, because the companies aren’t registered or regulated in Australia, player options when disputes arise are limited. For that reason, it’s important that Australian players choose a reputable casino to game with. While miss-information is widespread, the bottom line is clear: Australian players are free to gamble on any offshore website they want, and even in terms of Australian-based casinos offering Australian players an un-licensed gambling experience, it’s on the operator, NOT the player, so players really do have nothing to worry about.
Interestingly, Australian-based companies that develop online casino software are allowed to offer their services to players outside the country – provided the countries don’t fall into the ‘designated countries’ list, a collection of countries set-out by the Government that are ‘no-go-zones’.
Australian players have a wide range of payment methods available to them, and Debit/Credit cards, e-wallets, and bank transfers are some of the most common ways of transferring funds to and from casino accounts. Due to the large number of companies offering services to Australian players, it’s also not hard to find a website that lets players deposit and withdraw (and play) in the Australian currency, which means there are no fees or rates associated with currency exchange. Australian players are also beginning to benefit from faster payouts with instant payouts now available on certain casino websites once players have successfully verified their ID and sent in their relevant documents to proof their age.
Software and Games
Microgaming is one of the main software operators available to Australian players, and the global casino software giant are responsible for some of the most popular Video Slot and Casino Table Games in the world today, including their Game of Thrones 243-ways-to-win slot, Immortal Romance, Dragonz, and Jungle Jim: El Dorado. There are other software providers offering games to the Australian market, and below, you’ll find some extremely reputable casinos that accept Australian players.
One positive Australian residents have, is that gambling is considered, by law, a recreational activity, and this means gambling winnings aren’t subject to any form of taxation. This not only saves money (as you don’t have to pay the Government tax!), but also makes it far-easier to claim winnings won, and enjoy your winnings yourself! While players are free from gambling tax, operators do pay tax. So, although Australia’s gambling laws can – at first – look complex, and like bad news, the reality is, while Australian companies aren’t allowed to offer casino games to residents, Australians CAN play casino games online – and there are a multitude of online casino’s that now accept Australian players!