More than 100-years ago, Australian settlers began betting on horse races. Since then, harness racing, lotteries and greyhound racing have become Australian’s most popular gambling venues.
In 1972, Australia opened its first casinos and introduced the population to gaming machines. The slot machines (pokies) and poker machines generated approximately 65-percent of all gaming revenue less than 10-years after debuting.
A gambling culture
Per capita, Australia leads the world in the number of citizens who gamble regularly. Since the legalization of pokies in the 1950s, more than 1100 land-based clubs opened over the country and they naturally integrated with the internet in the 1990s.
The Australian government began regulating the industry with its legalization in the 1950s. As more land-based casinos opened across the country, interactive gambling followed suit and the number websites increased and continued to gain popularity, which prompted the government to protect citizens from unscrupulous websites.
The Interactive Gambling Act that passed in 2001, attempts to regulate online casinos within Australia and protect citizens from scammers.
Legal, or not legal
The IGA leaves much to interpretation and has many loopholes for casinos to operate just inside legal or a shade in the illegal. Online gambling continues to gain popularity in Australia and the boundaries set by the IGA broaden naturally without consistent enforcement.
As written, the IGA makes it illegal for internet gambling companies to advertise or give access to real-money wagering to their fellow citizens. Access to these gaming rooms broadcast from other countries and wagering real-money on these sites remains legal.
The out-of-country owners do skirt the law, however, no laws exist to find and stop those who run the casinos in other countries.
Online wagering on horse races, poker games and sporting events with a land-based company that holds a legal license does not fall under the IGA’s definition of illegal interactive play.
Betting on horse races and sporting events using online companies crosses the line when:
- The site is not land-based
- Wagering continues after the event begins
- The operator neglects to obtain a legal license to run such a site
Online gambling now
Source: Titan Poker
At present, Australian gamers can legally deposit money on an online gaming site and have their winnings cashed out in AUD.
Online casinos provide the safest gaming with a full range of gambling options like live-poker, video poker, roulette, sport betting, pokies and more.
First-time online casino users need to use caution when choosing a casino and depositing money.
Users need to choose the casino carefully and take measures to protect bank and credit card accounts. Just like any online shopping, choose from known companies use common sense when depositing or withdrawing funds and use random passwords.
Changes in both land-based casinos and their internet counterparts loom ahead. The liberal party will oust pre-commitment systems that utilize player cards to spot banned players and tell players they have gone over their pre-set wagering limit.
According to the liberal party, the pre-commitment pokies went into effect before enough trials and studies were completed. The system proved too expensive and the local governing bodies had no say in their use.
In its place, a timetable for venues to collaborate with counseling services will start. This voluntary pre-commitment system will encourage counselors and casinos to work together to help patrons.
The present Coalition aims to tighten restrictions on offshore casino websites that allow Australian citizens to deposit funds and gamble without limits. Laws to crack down on these sites have not yet gone beyond the planning stages and no one knows how the government plans to regulate this industry.
The current reforms banning in-play betting for sporting events and poker games stand. Australians may still participate in these activities with an offshore organization.
Even if the government acts on the promise to tighten the restrictions on offshore interactive casinos, expect only a small ripple in the everyday use of such sites by Australians. Passing and enforcing such restrictions on an industry so large should not concern today’s internet gamblers.
Additional reading: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gambling_in_Australia