Gambling is a very popular pastime in Australia, in many different forms, 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, such as slots and video poker (often referred to as pokies), can be found throughout the region in pubs, bars, and clubs.
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.
Online gambling is legal too. There are some government imposed restrictions, brought in with the passing of the Interactive Gambling Act of 2001, but these are aimed at the companies operating gambling sites rather than the individuals looking to use them.
We have explained more about the regulation of online gambling in Australia below, along with how the relevant laws affect you. We have also provided some details on the Interactive Gambling Act. Additionally, we provide updates if and when there are any changes in gambling related legislation.
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.
The Interactive Gambling Act of 2001 (IGA) was passed by the Australian Commonwealth Parliament with the aim of protecting Australian residents from the potentially harmful effects of online gambling. It’s 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.
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.
See our recommended Australian gambling sites here.
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.
At the time of writing there are no major changes to Australian gambling legislation on the horizon. It has been suggested that there may be some amendments to the IGA at some point, but there have been no firm proposals yet.
**Please note that we do our best to ensure that all the information we provide here is entirely accurate, but we aren’t lawyers. Nothing we state here should be considered legal advice and is only our own interpretations and opinions.**