Have you ever wondered about Australian gambling laws? The law regarding gambling in Australia has always been vague, especially after online gambling became the new frenzy. And, because the lines are blurred, it’s difficult for inquiring players to know what’s allowed and what’s not. Fortunately, we are here to help you out.
In this guide, we’ll discuss legal matters regarding gambling in Australia. We look at the actual laws and what they say. We also look at the various gambling regulatory organizations and the role that they play in regulating online gaming.
Best Online Casinos in Australia
Australian Gambling Laws Guide
- Is It Legal to Gamble in Australia
- Legal Gaming in Australia
- Gaming In Each Territory
- Australian Gambling Laws Statistics
Interactive Gambling Bill of 2001
The gaming industry in Australia and the extent to which you can enjoy any form of gambling in the country is stipulated in the Interactive Gambling Bill of 2001. The Bill is quite long and detailed, but there are four main points that we should take note of. It states:
- Interactive gaming services may not be made available to Australian players.
- It prevents anyone from advertising gambling services or products
- It’s against the law to operate unlicensed gambling facilities
- It prevents anyone from offering gambling services to Australians in designated countries.
All this means that online casinos in the country are not allowed to offer real money gambling facilities to Australian players and neither are offshore casinos.
Australian gambling laws can get unnecessarily complicated. And, if you are anything like us then you also simply want to know if online gambling is legal in the country or not. Well, we’ve mentioned previously that the lines are heavily blurred when it comes to online gaming in Australia. And, while online gambling is prohibited, for the most part, there are some loopholes in the Interactive Gambling Act of 2001 that makes some exceptions with online pokies, bingo, and poker.
Online pokie machines are seemingly an acceptable form of gaming. You can also find pokie machines at land-based casinos across the country. Gambling stats also show that pokie machines are one of the most played games among Aussies.
Poker is right up there with pokies in terms of popularity, but the law prohibits online poker sites from operating in the country. This means that you are limited to playing poker in a social setting where no real money bets are being made.
Online bingo is another acceptable form of gambling in Australia. Land-based casinos offer computer-simulated bingo games that you can play. Other lottery-style games like keno is allowed, and so is participation in lottery games.
It is however against the law for Australians to play casino games like roulette, blackjack, baccarat, and craps for real money. This means that you can play these games, but there must be no real money betting involved.
The sports betting industry is more relaxed, though. Sports betting is totally legal and there are hundreds of sportsbooks that you can visit to engage in pre-game betting. The two major rules regarding sports betting is 1) all sports betting sites must be licensed and regulated if it’s operating within the country and 2) in-play sports betting is prohibited because it’s thought of as an interactive form of gambling. In essence, you may only place bets before the game, not during.
New South Wales
Australian gambling laws in NSW are more relaxed than in any other region. New south wales also have the most robust gambling industry compared to all the other territories in the country. It has three casinos that are fully operational, and together they have about 100 000 pokie machines. You will also find over 1000 sports betting facilities in the region as well as many other fully licensed and regulated bookmakers.
Queensland boasts a total of four land-based casinos. The region has over 47 000 pokie machines located in hotels and public clubs.
Northern Territory only has about 2 land-based casinos. Gambling is fairly more restricted in the area with only 2200 pokie machines found in bars and clubs.
In the South Australia region, Adelaide is the only area that has an active gambling industry. There are about 13 000 pokie machines for you to enjoy. Payouts in the region are restricted to $10 000 or less.
Pokie machines in Tasmania are also limited to bars and clubs and there are about 3500 machines currently operating in the region.
Western Australia only has about 1750 machines to date, and they are all inside the Crown Perth Casino.
The Victoria region also has a robust gambling industry. Crown Melbourne Casino is one of the best casinos in the region. Victoria as a whole has about 30 000 machines to enjoy. But, entertainment is not limited to only pokie machines, you can bet on racing events, Calcutta sweepstakes, and other carnival activities.
The Australian Gambling Statistics organization, AGS for short, is responsible for producing annual turnover results for the total expenditure and total government revenue from gambling among AU territories. The last recorded stats were for the 2018/19 financial year. We await the 2020/2021 statistics.
Here’s a breakdown of the total revenue received from each state/territory over that period.
Based on the stat we can tell that not a lot of money is generated from gambling in Australia which can be due to the fact that not a lot of real money games are made available. The overall amount is low compared to other countries that accumulate millions in gambling revenue on an annual basis.
One upside to playing in Australia is the fact that any winnings you may get from playing the few real money gambling options is that your winnings are not taxed to you but the operator. This means you don’t pay any tax money on the money you win. This is because the government sees this kind of money as income from a hobby and not income from an actual corporate job. How much tax operators will pay depends on the game and the state or territory.