Learn About AU Online Casino Laws in 2024

Online gambling opportunities are also plentiful in Australia, and by 2027, this industry is expected to grow to $4.5 billion. While it dominates the global market, it has undergone numerous regulatory changes that vary widely by state and territory in Australia.

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What You Should Know About Online Gambling Laws in Australia in 2024

Australia has always been a gambling-friendly country, with about 80% of its adult population indulging in some kind of gambling activity. It is a land of multiple land-based casinos where you can play poker and various casino games. Additionally, there are over 4,500 TAB (Totalizator Agency Board) outlets where you can enjoy lotteries, housie, and bets on racing.

Online gambling opportunities are also plentiful in Australia, and by 2027, this industry is expected to grow to $4.5 billion. While it dominates the global market, it has undergone numerous regulatory changes that vary widely by state and territory in Australia.

My name is Bart, and in this article, I will introduce you to the Australian legal landscape surrounding online gambling. I will also discuss the recent regulatory changes and where you can find the best online casinos in Australia.

Australian Online Gambling Laws

Casino gaming and gambling operations in the Land Down Under have always been overseen by state and territory governments. However, gambling providers are rapidly adopting new communications technologies, which has sparked the Commonwealth's interest since the area falls within its constitutional jurisdiction.

Furthermore, the growth of online gaming has had a significant impact on regulation, social welfare, and revenue collection practices. Currently, Australian online gambling operations are regulated by the Interactive Gambling Act, which I will elaborate on in the following paragraphs.

Interactive Gambling Act of 2021

As online gambling became more popular, the Australian government decided to take the matter in their own hands. Consequently, Australia's Commonwealth Parliament passed the Interactive Gambling Act in 2001, regulating online gambling providers and activities. The regulatory body appointed to oversee this vertical was the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA).

According to the Act, Australian residents are not allowed to participate in real-money online interactive gambling, and local companies cannot offer online gambling services. The IGA covers all online gaming businesses, whether local or international.

Those who wish to offer online gambling services to local players must obtain a permit. Still, it's not easy to accomplish that. State and territory licences are often monopolistic or have a minimal scope of usage. Applicants cannot be companies in the country but international casinos exclusively. However, none of them applied to this day due to high tax rates. They need a federal permit and a licence from the territory where they want to operate, and the Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) must authorise casino software providers.

To clarify, you are not prohibited from accessing and using any casino sites’ services. Essentially, Australian operators running gambling sites can offer their services only to Australian players living outside of the state.

Additionally, online platforms cannot advertise real-money online gaming services such as online poker and casinos to Australian residents. The same law applies to a number of "designated countries" — countries with legislation similar to Australia's that prohibit Aussie players from using their services.

Forms of Online Gambling Available to AU Residents

Even though most forms of gambling are forbidden under the IGA, some are permitted. Pokies, scratchies, in-play sports betting, and table games like craps, roulette, baccarat, and blackjack are among those prohibited. Sports betting and lottery sites are the only gambling options available to Aussies, and operators are responsible for blocking all other gambling forms.

A key objective of the IGA is to protect Australian players from the harmful effects of online gambling. On the other hand, citizens can still access international gambling platforms since the law does not explicitly prohibit their access.

Moreover, hundreds of offshore casinos accept AU players and offer a wide range of betting options.

Due to a rise in illegal foreign online casinos, the government amended the Interactive Gambling Act in 2017. Since then, around 180 online operators have been forced out of the Australian market due to suspicions they were operating without a licence.

As interstate online casinos are not permitted to offer services to Australian citizens under the IGA, players can always go to offshore gambling sites to find a multitude of gambling options. However, they should be aware that if they experience any problems, the country's gambling authorities cannot help.

Keeping up to Date with Australian Law

Due to some recent developments, the situation regarding online gambling may change in Australia in the near future; unfortunately, not in favour of online gamblers.

Similarly to the UIGEA (Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act) in the US, Australian legislators introduced new legislation in September 2023 to restrict Australians from playing on international websites. The Interactive Gambling Amendment Bill of 2023 seeks to ban online casino payments, or more precisely, the use of credit cards and digital currencies as payment methods for online wagering services.

In the early 2000s, the state prohibited the use of credit cards for gambling in casinos, TAB outlets, clubs, and hotels, but people were still able to use them for online gambling. According to the Australian Banking Association (ABA), this ban was introduced to prevent consumers from the debt trap, given that over 800k users found themselves in this situation due to using credit cards for online gambling purposes.

The bill was first approved by the House of Representatives and then by the Senate in December 2023. Nevertheless, it didn’t go straight into effect because the Australian government ran a six-month transition period, allowing operators, consumers, and payment processors time to adjust. Operators who fail to enforce the ban could face a $234,750 fine.

What Does the Future Hold for Online Gambling in Australia?

Considering the aforementioned changes to Australian gambling laws, I would say that the future of legal online gambling has the potential for growth and improvement. This is mainly because all the calls for the Australian government to reevaluate the IGA and potentially regulate online casinos in recent years have been futile. 

Still, this doesn’t diminish the pastime’s popularity. Many argue that the prohibition of this vertical and credit cards has only driven Aussie players further toward offshore gaming platforms and that they are the future. 

The IGA includes a provision stating that, unless explicitly indicated otherwise, the Act also applies to “acts, omissions, matters, and things” outside Australia's borders.

In light of these circumstances, it is unclear whether the IGA of 2017 prohibits international gambling platforms from accepting Australian players. That said, no individual players have ever been targeted by authorities for joining international gambling sites.

Offshore casinos continue to accept Aussie players, and they are able to do so without consequences. Politicians occasionally argue about cracking down offshore internet gambling in Australia, but no real action seems to be taking place.

Since interstate online casinos are non-existent and visiting offshore gambling sites is practically risk-free, many Australian players prefer joining such platforms. They are the Mecca for all gambling enthusiasts because no brick-and-mortar casino has such a wide range of games.

Advantages of Aussie Online Casinos

Casino sites catering to Australian players offer everything from pokies and table games to video poker and live casino games. Prestigious game providers, like Evolution and NetEnt, team with operators, meaning you can expect exciting, transparent, and immersive gaming sessions. 

International operators are also well-known for their generous promotions. Whether you want to claim a welcome promotion, no deposit bonus, reload or cashback deal, they have got you covered.

Furthermore, players can enjoy the games with peace of mind since the best international sites are licensed and safe. As an added bonus, the winnings are not taxed in Australia.

Closing Thoughts

Despite the legislation restricting online gambling and imposing strict penalties on unlicensed platforms, there are still loopholes allowing AU players to join international gambling sites. Since the government does little to prevent offshore gambling, I can understand why many Aussies are attracted to these platforms.

Foreign casino sites offer a wealth of gambling opportunities and lavish promotions, and you’ll have no issues topping up your account or withdrawing your winnings. You should, however, always look for a reliable operator.

Online Casinos in Australia FAQs

1. What is the minimum gambling age for Aussies at international casinos?

You must be at least 18 years old to be allowed to indulge in online gambling in Australia.

2. Do I have to pay taxes on my online casino winnings in AU?

If you are a casual player, your winnings are exempt from tax. However, professional gamblers are obliged to pay taxes on their winnings. So, be careful if you spend a lot of money sharpening your skills, as you may be on the tax authority’s radar.

3. Who is in charge of gambling laws in the Land Down Under?

The Commonwealth oversees the entire sector, but every territory has its own gambling laws and regulatory bodies. For instance, the Office of Liquor & Gaming Regulation oversees gambling operations in Queensland, while the Department of Racing, Gaming & Liquor supervises everything gambling-related in Western Australia.

4. Are online casinos prohibited from operating in Australia?

Although online gambling sites are not allowed to operate in AU, there are many international operators catering to local players. You can access them, enjoy the games, and even withdraw your winnings with ease.

kevin.conze
kevin.conze Updated on June 2024, 27 69 Articles
My name is Kevin, I am 30 years old, born in Germany, and living around the world. Most of my time I spend in the stunning continent of South America. I made my first steps in the vibrating iGaming Industry at the beginning of the year 2017, when I lived in the iGaming-Hotspot of Malta. In Malta, I started as a live dealer for Blackjack and Roulette. more about the author