Are Internet casinos legal in Australia? Is online gambling allowed in Australia? Do online casinos hold the same betting law as sports betting? Can Australians play real money casino games online?
These questions, among many more gambling-related queries, are frequently asked in online forums and by people interested in finding out what right’s they have to enjoying some real cash gambling on the Internet, and whether or not they will get in trouble for doing so.
This page will explain the Australian Government laws surrounding online casinos and whether Australians are allowed to access real money gaming services offered by interactive casino operators.
We will also touch on why sports wagering is held in a different regard to casino betting, so readers and keen punters can stay informed about online gambling Down Under.
Can Australians legally play AUD casino games on the Internet?
Specific laws govern what online casino operators can and cannot do, but for the regular Aussie citizen, there are no regulations which make it an offence to play real money casino games at an Internet gaming site – Australians can legally, without fear of being prosecuted, enjoy Australian currency interactive gambling services at any online and mobile casino.
So what are the laws for online casino operators?
In 2001, the Australian Government (led by John Howard) passed a new regulation (The Interactive Gambling Act – IGA) which stated it is an offence for any Internet gambling operator (this includes online casino companies) to offer and advertise ‘real-money online interactive gambling services’ to the Australian public. This law remains in place today and has been referenced by the current government, claiming it is due for a review.
What does the term interactive mean, according to the government? The Act considers the following services ‘interactive’ gambling:
- Online casino games
- Online poker games
- Online instant-win scratch-cards (also know as instants or scratchies)
- Live (in-play) sports betting over the Internet
The IGA applies to all interactive gambling operators, whether they are based in Australia or as an offshore organisation. The Australian government is extremely strict on monitoring what locally-owned online gambling operators do, and there aren’t many of such companies in operation currently, due to the restrictions and difficulties involved in marketing such services. An online casino is technically allowed to be owned and run from inside Australian borders, however the company cannot market its services to Aussie residents (only residents of other designated countries).
The Aussie government however, is extremely lax on foreign-owned online casinos and online poker rooms, and other offshore sites which offer real money ‘interactive’ gambling services to Australians. Technically, these companies are in violation of the IGA rules and regulations, however, there has never been a serious attempt to thwart these offshore/internationally-owned operators from advertising and offering their products and services to Australian residents. Thus, many reputable Internet gambling companies which are licensed and regulated by their own jurisdiction’s gaming authority, continue to market such services to the Australian public.
We are grateful such companies choose to do this, because otherwise it would be near impossible for us residents to access online real money casino games. The IGA does not target residents at all, so Australian citizens cannot be punished for playing at an online casino (signing up and gambling).
IGA inconsistencies and our view
At SafeCasinos.com.au, we feel there are glaring inconsistencies with the Interactive Gambling Act of 2001. To better understand these contradictions in online betting laws, let’s take a look at what Internet gambling (also known as iGambling) activities are still permitted within Australian borders:
Online sports wagering – this is a legal national practice, with Australian and foreignly-owned tax-paying bookmaker organisations licensed in our country, mainly in the Northern Territory (such as Sportsbet, William Hill and BetEasy). So long as betting takes place prior to the commencement of the event, this is a completely lawful activity.
Online lottery betting – as long as the lottery is not an ‘instant-win’ scratch card style of wagering, purchasing tickets and playing in lotteries such as Tattslotto, Powerball, state keno games and the Soccer Pools, via the Internet, is also a completely lawful activity.
Within these two categories, the government suggests the individual is not gambling ‘interactively’. Offline gambling is a major industry in Australia, and the online betting market is growing to be just as big. Why the government chooses to draw the line at online casino (blackjack, roulette, baccarat, bingo, sic bo, pokies, etcetera), poker and instant-win style scratchies is beyond us.
If licensed wagering operators in Australia were able to offer ‘interactive’ gambling products and services to Aussie residents, they’d be required to pay tax just like current legal and regulated online gambling operators do. And while gambling on the Internet with offshore operators remains dependable and secure so long as you do so with honest companies, iGambling with Australian-owned businesses would be far more appealing for those whom wish to engage in this form of entertainment responsibly.
The regulated, accredited and certified online casinos for Australians
The following registered online casino sites all offer their real money gambling services to Australians and deal directly with the Australian Dollar (AUD). We can lawfully play the games available at all the below websites which are compatible with all smartphones and tablets, and even some older-end data-enabled mobile phones.
- Royal Vegas Casino
- Thrills Casino
- G’day Casino
- 7 sultans Casino
- Guts Casino
- All Slots Casino
Gaming regulatory bodies these sites are registered with include the UK Gaming Commission and the Lotteries and Gaming Authority of Malta, as well as independent and unbiased gaming testing and player protection agencies such as eCOGRA (the eCommerce Online Gaming Regulation and Assurance body).
We hope this provides Australian punters with enough information to confirm gambling online is a legal practice and doing so responsibly, at any of the above suggested websites, is not breaking the law in any way, shape or form.
Sign up at G’day Casino and enjoy some of the most unique and innovative online pokie, poker, blackjack, roulette and baccarat games availabl eonline for real AUD money.