Ins and outs of Australian online gambling regulation

| February 28, 2019
The consumer can gamble in Australia but there are significant penalties for online providers.

Gambling has been a topic of contention in Australia for decades. The country is no stranger to the practice. Reportedly, some 80% of the general public gambles in one way or another. With the rest of the World loosening its regulations on gambling, Australia is increasingly pressured to get on with the times.

The country isn’t very consistent with its rules. Live betting, for example, is very much legal in the land down under. iGaming, on the other hand, is an extremely controversial subject. 

How can I gamble in Australia?

As we’ve mentioned, you’re totally free to do live betting in Australia. Each region in the country boasts one or more casinos and next to this, there is always an availability of best online casinos to choose from, just a few clicks away. The casinos offer a standard set of gambling practices that you’re probably already familiar with. Roulette, blackjack, poker – you name it. Poker tournaments, jackpots etc. are also an established practice in the country. Sports betting is also very legal in most parts of the country. 

Regulatory bodies in Australia

Australia encompasses several territories that function largely independently. They have their own governments and regulations. Gambling isn’t an exception to this. Each of the 6 states and 2 internal territories has its own regulatory body to oversee the gambling activities. 

The Australian Communications and Media Authority, in turn, oversees gambling marketing in the country. 

Why is online gambling illegal?

Not only is online gambling illegal in Australia, but it’s actually one of the first countries in the World to regulate this industry. The regulation came about back in 2001 in the form of the Interactive Gambling Act.

The regulation targeted online gambling providers and has mostly stayed unchanged since it was rolled out. The law prohibited companies from selling restricted interactive gambling products in Australia, as well as from selling unlicensed online gaming products to Australians or selling Australian-based online gaming products to foreign countries. The penalties for violating the law are very significant. Both the people running the company, as well as the company itself are subject to these fines. However, you will not be charged with anything if you use the services of such websites. The regulation intends to only target the providers of such services, not the consumers. You also needn’t worry about taxation. Only professional gamblers fall under Australia’s income tax law. 

Is there any form of legal online gambling in Australia?

The regulation reaches far and wide. Especially after the 2016 amendment. It restricts access to most of online gambling, except online lotteries, racing and sports betting. The latter is only legal if you’re not betting in-game. Any other shapes and forms of online gambling are inaccessible in the country.

Further restrictions for online gambling

Naturally, as soon as the regulation went into effect, gambling operators started searching for ways to exploit the system. Some providers were even allowing customers to place the bets by calling the company, thereby circumventing the law.

In 2016, an amendment to the bill was unveiled. The updated regulation closed the loopholes used by gambling companies. It ultimately forced some companies to abandon the Australian market under financial and legal threats. 

Bottom line

Australia is a country enthralled with gambling. The casinos operating there are not only some of the best in the World, but they’re also very popular with the local population. Online gambling is a well-established industry spanning the entire globe. If and when Australia decides to open its metaphorical doors to the practice, some of the World’s best online casinos will flock to the country and its tax collectors will have a field day with it. Before then, if you intend to gamble in Australia, you’re best advised to stick to conventional casino betting. 

Category: Betting

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