Australians love playing games. Whether it is sports, horse racing, casino games, lotteries or other such tournaments Australians have full entertainment and enjoyment in all gaming activities. All the fun is not for leisure but also Aussies love to bet and play for real money. whether online, on gaming tables, or on “pokies,” the native Australian term for slot machines. Australians gamble in casinos, bars, and clubs. They engage in poker, blackjack, roulette, and all the other standard table games, as well as sports betting.

If you will look at the gambling statistics then you will find that over 80% of Australian adults engage in gambling of some kind, which is the highest rate of gambling in the world. This number includes some 4% of the adult population who play the pokies once a week, accounting for some 62% of locals spending on annual gambling.

Gambling is now considered a significant public health issue as with around 80,000 to 160,000 (or 0.5 – 1.0%) of Australian adults experiencing significant problems from gambling and a further 250,000 to 350,000 (or 1.4 – 2.1% of adults) experiencing moderate risks that may make them vulnerable to problem gambling. The social cost of problem gambling to the community is estimated to be at least $4.7 billion each year.

History of Gambling in Australia

  • New South Wales has a long history of gambling; Australia’s first official horse racing meeting occurred in 1810 at Hyde Park in Sydney; the first official Australian lottery occurred in 1881 at the Sydney Cup; and registered clubs operated the first legal poker machines in Australia from 1956
  • In 1901 with the country’s inception as the Commonwealth of Australia, the government permitted and promoted almost all types of gambling and over the years it has evolved significantly.
  • 1901-1919 – In this period in the commonwealth’s history, British influence promoted the popularity of card games and horse racing. Asian and European influences also affected the evolution of games at this time.
  • 1920s – The government introduced its first lottery gaming system with the hope of claiming revenue.
  • 1930s-1960s – In this period sports betting grew popular in underground Australia, resulting in revenue deprivation for the government.
  • 1970s – The casinos and slot machinery gained Australian favour, sports betting became legal, allowing the government to recapture the revenue it had previously lost due to illegal underground activities.
  • 2015 – Gambling in Australia is an integral part of the society’s culture. Almost all forms of gambling are there and is a great way for the government to collect revenue.

Games, Gambling and Australian Laws

As said above Australians love all sorts of games, gambling and most of the relevant laws are fairly liberal.

  • There are several licensed land based casinos in the country, and poker is legal too.
  • Gaming machines, pokies and video poker can be found throughout the region in pubs, bars, and clubs.
  • Approximately 95,800 of “pokies” are in NSW, a state total beaten only by Nevada, which operated 181,109 gambling machines in 2014
  • For sports betting there’s the Totalisator Agency Board (TAB) where you can place tote wagers and fixed odds wagers. There are nearly 3,000 retail TAB outlets in Australia in all kinds of different locations. Bingo, or housie as it tends to be called, is also widely available. In short, there are plenty of opportunities to gamble legally in Australia.

Casino Gambling

Land Based Casinos

There are numerous land-based casinos operating in Australia, including Melbourne’s globally renowned Crown Casino, and the Star City Casino in Sydney. Casino gambling is currently regulated under the Casino Control Act of 2006. This act details how such venues should operate, and also provides guidelines for the various State and Territory gaming committees whom regulate gaming venues and activities in their respective regions.. Australian casinos are permitted to offer a number of worldwide favourites, including all of the most popular table games.

Online Casinos

There are hundreds of online sites which run offshore offering downloadable and instant play software – and playing their games for real money is completely acceptable. In fact, accessing the services of any onshore interactive casinos is fine for residents, but you’ll struggle to find any, because of the restrictions involved. Thus it is recommend sticking with foreign and trusted companies.

Pokies Machines

Land Based Poker machines

These are the most popular form of gambling throughout Australia, found in casinos and thousands of clubs, pubs and bars across the country and it is estimated that 20% of the world’s gaming machines are available to play.

Specific laws regulating the use of the pokies here are a matter for State/Territory governments, but still must adhere to guidelines imposed by the national government. Pokies are legitimate, as long as the governing operators of the machines hold the correct licenses and follow all regulations put in place by the State/Territory regulatory committees like as an example; minimum pokies payout requirements, which in Victoria is 87%.

Currently, regulation reforms of pokies are focussed on land-based voluntary pre-commitment programs. It is to be noted here that regardless of the outcome of these governmental policies, playing the pokies will remain legal.

National Lotteries, Keno and Other Lottery Type Games

There are several different authorised lotteries running down-under, regulated by Aussie lottery companies:

  • Tatts Group Limited, which operates under the name Tatts in Tasmania, Victoria, the ACT and NT, and governs Queensland’s Golden Casket Lottery Corporation, and the New South Wales Lotteries, owns the following national lotteries: Saturday Lotto and Monday & Wednesday Lotto, Oz Lotto, Powerball, Super 66, and is the proprietor of Victorian and Tasmanian state Keno games.
  • South Australian Lotteries, a State government-owned corporation, owns and administrates the SA Lotto and Keno, and The Soccer Pools (winners determined based on football match results around the world).
  • Lotterywest, also a State government-owned lottery company (Western Australia) manages the WA-exclusive lottery game, Cash 3.
  • Instants, also known as “scratchies,” where players scratch cards to reveal matching numbers or codes to win cash prizes, are also offered by most lottery companies. Scratchies purchased in one State cannot be exchanged in another.
  • Tabcorp also operates keno draws in licensed venues and TABs in NSW, Victoria and Queensland. There are approximately 3,650 keno outlets across those three States.

You can access AUD friendly offshore platforms such as Casino-Mate, Royal Vegas, 7 Sultans, All Slots and Guts Casino to play several diverse keno games, as well as indulge in numerous different scratch cards. Additionally, Oz Lotteries, the exclusive Australian distributor of lotto tickets via the Internet, allows  you to open an account and rightfully purchase many different kinds of tickets to any or all of the above lottos, view results, join syndicates and earn points for discounts. As previously stated, Oz Lotteries is not allowed to offer scratchies

Gambling Regulation in Australia- State Wise

Gambling regulation in Australia is done at two levels. Central government takes an active role in both the regulation of the pastime and also the passing and amending of the relevant legislation. Regulation also takes place at state and territory level, with several regional authorities.

The following is a list of all the organizations involved in gambling regulation, with the regions that they cover.

  • 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

What is the Interactive Gambling Act 2001?

Online gambling is legal too. There are some government imposed restrictions, brought in with the passing of the Interactive Gambling Act of 2001 (IGA), but these are aimed at the companies operating gambling sites rather than the individuals looking to use them.

The government wants and aims at protecting Australian residents from the potentially harmful effects of online gambling. Therefore it is targeted at operators, which essentially makes it an offense to advertise or provide real money online gambling services to the citizens of Australia.

Australian operators can offer their services to customers in other parts of the world, although some countries are restricted. They can also offer sports betting and lotteries within Australia, providing they hold the required license.

How Australian Gambling Laws Affect You

There’s nothing in the IGA that makes it illegal for an Australian resident to access or use online gambling services. Therefore it’s completely legal for you to gamble online if you so choose. There are plenty of overseas operators that do accept Australian customers so there’s a decent selection of sites that you can use. There are also a number of licensed Australian online sports betting sites too.

The biggest disadvantage of the IGA for you is that the sites you can use (other than the licensed sportsbooks) aren’t regulated within Australia. Should you experience any problems or feel you have been treated unfairly, you won’t get any recourse from the Australian gambling authorities.

This isn’t really a major issue, though, as you’ll find that many of the sites you can use are licensed and regulated in another online gambling jurisdiction where it’s legal to operate. You just need to make sure that you use a recommended and reputable site; then you should be fine.

It’s also worth noting that Australia has favorable taxation laws when it comes to gambling. It’s considered a recreational activity and therefore any winnings you make aren’t subject to tax.

This now you know that there are a large number of online gamblers in Australia who regularly play bingo, poker or casino games online and there are a large number of Australian who regularly place bets online. Here is the list of most frequently asked questions with their answers which still might arise in your mind about online gambling in Australia.

Is online gambling legal in Australia?

Yes it is legal. While the law addresses providers of gambling services outside the realm of sports betting, there is no reference to the legality of players competing on the Internet. This means that players are in no danger of prosecution or any other online gambling legal problems. They can feel comfortable creating an account on any online gambling site and participating in a legitimate wagering activity. This is why most of the major legit online gambling sites legally promote their services to Australians.

Is online poker legal?

When it comes to the online gambling legal situation in Australia, the current law does not take any stand on the ‘skill game’ argument that pertains to online poker. As a result, for online poker players, it means online poker is put in the same category as any other legit casino game.

Online poker is one of the most popular of all gambling games online, and there have been no threats against sites that provide legitimate online poker services to Australian players. With live poker going through something of a boom Down Under, expect the law on online poker to be clarified in the coming years.

Is playing free at online gambling sites?

Yes, you are can play any type of gambling game online for free, be it any games such as bingo, poker or casino related games. As a first time online gambler you should always be prepared to spend some time playing at a large range of different gaming sites via the demo mode version of those sites or via the free play log in, as by doing so you will be able to find games you enjoy playing and also a gaming platform you enjoy using. You will also be able to learn and practice such games too.

How to access casino, poker and bingo games online?

There are two different ways that you can access poker, bingo and casino games online. The first  way is via a web browser which will be a no downloadable one, and the games load instantly when playing in a web browser. The other way is via a downloaded gaming platform. Here you need to download and then install the software when accessing such a site and once done their games reside on your computer or mobile and can then be accessed at any time for play.

Is there any chance of really winning cash when gambling online?

You will have the chance of winning when gambling online, but you also have the very real risk of losing, so before you do attempt to play at any online gambling site which allows Australian players, it is always best that you put aside an amount of cash that you are prepared to lose, for not every gambling session you have is going to be a winning one.

Are there any taxes to pay on winnings?

There are no tax obligations to players, whether they win or lose. Gambling is not considered a profession but a game of luck, so winnings are assumed to balance with losses. In addition, gambling operators, such as casino owners and betting companies, are taxed, so the government deems those the only pertinent entities to pay taxes. Each state and territory has different rates of taxation, but players pay nothing.

Does a player have recourse if they suspect unfair activity?

Yes. Players who suspect any type of cheating or unfair play on an Internet gaming site should write to the support staff or customer service of the company. Depending on the sufficiency of that answer, they can take it further and contact the company that holds the site’s gaming license. They can also contact eCOGRA and any other organization that is listed on the site for guaranteeing the fairness of the online casino.

How to deposit money in an online gambling site?

There are numerous different ways and method that are low cost or does not have any additional fees charged to you other than your deposited amount.  You can find the list of payment methods at online sites. You can choose according to your own convenience like web wallets, pre paid vouchers or debit or credit cards as they are processed instantly and winnings can often be sent straight back to the accounts associated with those cards, which means that you will not be waiting long for your winning payouts to reach you.

Are Australians allowed to play on international online casinos?

Yes. The government takes issue with the sites themselves and their ability to market to Australians, but the players have no part in the legal battle that could ensue. Players are free to choose whatever sites are available to them and compete in online table games, virtual slot machines, and poker games. There is no danger or criminal prosecution of any kind for players.

Is online sports betting legal in Australia?

Yes. For online gambling, legal sports betting is one activity that is definitely possible Australia. The country has long taken pride in its participating in wagering on sports like football and Aussie horse racing. Players are welcome to wager in numerous live locations around Australia, as well as online through many legal online gambling sites that provide legit sports betting options.

Will I have to gamble in another currency online?

You may find some gambling sites that will either allow you to pick any currency you wish to gamble with, or some sites may force you to gamble in another currency other than Australian Dollars, some sites will also insist that you only gamble in your own home currency. You are always advised to stick to depositing and playing in Australian Dollars as that way you will never be forced to pay any currency exchange rate fees or any additional Forex charges. Also it is better to read the terms and conditions at the online casino before using the currency.

What Pokie games can I play online?

There are plenty of pokies games for you to be played online, and you will be able to play them either for free and at no risk or you will be able to play them for real money, but always have limits in place when gambling online as it is too easy to get carried away and spend too much money.

I have a gambling problem where should I go?

You should always seek help, support and advice if you are suffering from any type of gambling problems, there are many groups and organisations throughout Australia that can and will help you overcome any gambling addiction problems, many of which also have an online presence.

Why do I need to send ID proof to a gambling site?

You may be requested to send in some form of identification documents to an online gambling site before, during or after any gaming session played at such a site. There are several reasons for this including age verification, money launderings and also for fraud prevention purposes. You will usually only be requested to supply documents once.

What is the legal age to gamble in Australia?

The legal minimum age to gamble either at an online gambling site or in a land based gaming venue in Australia is 18. If you are younger than 18 you will be banned from gambling at any land based or online gaming site. Not only this you are also not permitted to play for free at any site or venue that offers real money games.

How can I be sure online gambling games are fair?

You should look out for sites that have had both their games and their random number generators certified as being fair and true, there are only a handful of companies who issue gambling sites with game fairness certificates and these will always be displayed on the casino, poker or bingo sites website.

As you know that laws are amended from time to time and all the above information has been provided to you by thorough research from reputed and government sites. Nothing state here should be considered legal advice as it is the information on legal gambling and its current status in Australia. It is always better to check for upcoming amendments and updates on the legalities.  Additionally, we will also provide updates if and when there are any changes in gambling related legislation.