Legal Online Gambling in Australia
In Australia the popularity of gambling on the internet has increased exponentially over the past two decades, and since the emergence of this industry in the 1990’s online casinos have grown from strength to strength. According to research conducted by The Economist, Australian adults gamble more per capita when compared to any other nation in the world, with around 80% of the adult population betting at least once every year on everything from pokies to sports to table games.
Gambling online in Australia, or as some players optimistically call it “The Lucky Country” is a very popular activity. By being aware of the legalities and other important factors you can enjoy an online entertainment experience that’s safe, fun and potentially very rewarding.
The Legal Angle
Although the IGA or Interactive Gambling Act of 2001 prohibits online casino operators within Australia from offering interactive real money gambling activities, online gambling for citizens is a wholly legal and lawful activity. Australians flock to online casinos to enjoy pokies or other popular casino games and there are plenty of sites that fulfil all their needs. Additionally, casino or sportsbetting winnings are not taxable, making betting even more appealing for players or punters.
Gambling online is not a criminal activity, nor is it one you can be in any way punishable for and although there are laws restricting operators, it’s not the citizen’s responsibility to enforce them. Sports betting and online lotteries are also legally allowed in Australia provided they are associated with a business that is land-based. It’s important to note however that in-play or live betting is regulated by the IGA, thus making it illegal for locally-based bookmakers to offer this service to Australians, but there is nothing stopping them making use of live betting options offered by offshore or international bookmakers.
Popular Online Casino Games
In 1973 the first legal land based casino opened in Australia and in the mid 1990’s online casinos started opening their virtual doors. In both land based and online casinos poker machines, or as Australians have affectionately nicknamed them ‘pokies’ have always been a huge draw card and this popular moniker has now grown to cover just about every type of gambling machine available.
Poker is also very popular across Australia and despite the somewhat weakly implemented IGA, remains a favourite online. Other traditional table games such as blackjack and roulette are also enjoyed by a vast number of players and the numerous variants of these games available online makes them very appealing.
Sought-After Sports Betting
Online sports betting is a hugely popular activity in Australia and as it is legal, punters flock to sites that allow them to place wagers on their favourite sports, races and current events. A 2007 survey conducted by Sweeney Sports showed that 59% of Australians preferred wagering on cricket, whilst betting on horse racing tennis, Grand Prix, Australian football and NRL games was also amongst the favourites.
Aussie Rules football games attract local punters attention and although those outside this country may not know much about the game, it is a huge hit nationally. Attracting more spectators than any other local sport, Aussie Rules football captures the imagination of the country and there are plenty of opportunities to bet online on league games and the major fixtures.
Australia’s Gambling Future
Although many politicians are working hard to enforce anti-gambling legislation and are pushing for stricter controls within the land based casino industry, online casinos have managed to mostly escape the attention of the government. The spotlight seems to fall more readily on land based gambling activities and this is believed to be because online casinos fall somewhat outside parliament’s scope of influence.
Aside from the IGA banning interactive gambling and in-play betting, there are no other rules that govern citizens wanting to play casino games or indulge in sportsbetting online. Players and punters in Australia can thus enjoy betting online in any capacity, safe in the knowledge that they are enjoying a legal, lawful pursuit.