What is the Interactive Gambling Act (2001)?

IGA 2001

In June of 2001, the IGA, or Interactive Gambling Act, was passed by Parliament to curb internet gambling and advertising of internet gambling services.

Now, only certain types of online gambling is legal. Most gambling online for real money is illegal, however playing games online without the incentive to win real cash is not effected by the IGA.

What is “Interactive Gambling”?

Interactive gambling can be described as using the Internet to play games of chance, or games of mixed chance and skill. Using a form of virtual casino to play games such as roulette, craps, black jack, or ‘pokies’ are all considered interactive gambling.

Sports betting online is prohibited only when wagers are accepted after a game has begun, considering it “real time”.

Is it an offense to gamble online?

No. The IGA targets providers of online gambling services. It does not target customers of the gambling services. It is an offense to provide interactive gambling online to Australian citizens located within Australia. It is also considered an offense for Australia-based online gambling services to provide services to other countries that are listed as “designated”.

Does the IGA prohibit gambling in real life?

No, the IGA only pertains to online casinos and gambling. Any public place gambling is exempt from this Act. It is also prohibited to advertise an interactive gambling service or product, but those laws do not affect real-life casinos.

What DOESN’T the IGA prohibit?

Online Wagering:  Sporting events can be wagered on online, but only before they begin. Any real-time betting is prohibited under the IGA.

Online Lotteries: This does not include online scratch tickets or instant lotteries, as those are just as addictive as other forms of online gambling.

What is the Interactive Gambling Amendment Bill 2016?

The Interactive Gambling Amendment Bill 2016 is a bill that came about after the Review of Illegal Offshore Wagering in 2015, which recommended tightening up federal laws around gambling online. The 2001 Interactive Gambling Act had already sought to outlaw online gambling including poker, blackjack and roulette  but this amendment bill aimed to close “loopholes” which allowed online gambling to continue.

The bill amends the Interactive Gambling Act 2001 to clarify the services to which the Act applies by recognizing prohibited interactive gambling services and regulated interactive gambling services; prohibit a person providing regulated interactive gambling services to Australians unless the person holds a licence under the law of an Australian state and territory; introduce a civil penalty regime to be enforced by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA); prohibit ‘click to call’ in-play betting services; streamline complaints handling and investigation processes; establish a register of eligible regulated interactive gambling services to be published on the ACMA website; and enable the minister to determine by legislative instrument that a specific thing is, or is not, a sporting event for the purposes of the Act; Interactive Gambling Regulations 2001 to make consequential amendments; and  Australian Communications and Media Authority Act 2005  to enable the ACMA to disclose certain information to foreign regulators and the Department of Immigration and Border Protection.”

This rule was first introduced and read on 10 Nov 2016 and was last updated on March 2017 ( at the time of writing).

What happens with Interactive Gambling Amendment Bill 2016?

It bans online poker and live sports betting, Online cards, roulette, in-play betting outlawed under gambling reforms. As currently hundreds of illegal gambling services are easily accessible on the internet and people are more likely to get into trouble online as 2.7% of interactive gamblers are problem gamblers compared to 0.9% of all gamblers. So the tougher laws will seriously disrupt illegal offshore providers from acting unscrupulously or targeting vulnerable Australians. Also as major bookmakers and betting agencies have used the loophole to offer ‘click to call’ phone features on their websites and apps, which vastly speeds up the betting process. The latest amendment closes that loophole, outlawing ‘click to call’ services.

The new bill will set out a series of illegal gambling services and others that are permitted to operate if they meet certain exceptions. It will also give the Australian Communications and Media Authority (Acma) power to issue warnings, infringement notices, civil penalties and injunctions. Acma will also be given the power to disclose details about prohibited gambling services to international regulators.

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