How much do you know about Australia’s online gambling laws? Probably not much, and we won’t blame you because regarding this matter, legislation can be quite misleading.
Whether you’re getting started with online gambling or want to check you are not going to end up in jail soon, here’s what you need to know to enjoy a 100% legal gambling experience online.
The most popular legal gambling websites
Before getting into the detail of what the laws says, here is an overview of the main legal operators. Pick one of them if you want to play with your eyes closed!
Legal gambling 101: What is the Interactive Gambling Act?
So you might be wondering if betting online in Australia is completely safe and legal? And the short answer to that question is “yes”.
But while most forms of betting is allowed and available to the Australian public, current governmental restrictions do exist. In fact, these limitations currently have minimal effect on punters and mainly apply to Australian gambling operators.
Indeed, the Interactive Gambling Act (IGA) was designed with the intention to protect the public from the detrimental effects of online gambling and to prevent the risk of gambling addiction. The IGA therefore prohibits offering and advertising “real-money online interactive gambling services” (such as Casino games, poker and sports betting) to Aussies.
What does this mean exactly? That it is legal to operate online gambling services within Australian borders if they’re intended for other country’s residents only. But as the law doesn’t forbid individuals to play online, it also means that Australian players can use the services of foreign operators.
Those are technically in violation of the IGA but are currently tolerated and nothing foretells the situation will change any time soon. Be aware that in addition to casino games, bingo, poker or sports betting, Australian citizens can also play international lotteries.
Conclusion: As long as you don’t use the services of an Australian operator, you can gamble legally online from Australia.
How do I know the website I picked is legal?
If you want to play on a website that is not listed above, the best way to make sure a betting website is legal and fair is to stick to licensed websites. Whether it is online casino, online poker or sports betting, the website should be indeed recognized by an experienced gambling jurisdiction.
However, be careful as not all gambling licences are equal! Some countries in the world issue licenses that simply cannot be trusted and these are listed right below. To be safe, stick to the Commonwealth Jurisdiction: you can check the list of all registered operators directly on their website.
Legal commonwealth licensing jurisdictions:
- UK Gambling Commission,
- Gibraltar Gambling Commissioner,
- Alderney Gambling Control Commission,
- Isle of Man Casino Control Commission.
Jurisdictions to avoid :
- Government of Curacao,
- Antigua Directorate of Offshore Gambling.
Is live wagering legal in Australia?
Online in-play wagering is considered illegal as the definition of “interactive gambling service” has been recently extended, to the chagrin of Australian bookmakers. In adherence to the IGA, Aus bookies can no longer offer live wagering, regardless of whether they are based or licensed in Australia.
However, as the IGA applies to gambling operators and not individuals, Australian residents are not breaking the law by live betting online. Punters can therefore take advantage of this feature and enjoy this form of betting thanks to off-shore bookmakers.
What is the minimal legal age to gamble online?
Just like in brick-and-mortar casinos, you need to be 18 or over to be able to gamble online legally in Australia. If you want to register and play online, you will be required to prove your age, most of the time by scanning an official identification document such as your Driving License or a copy of your Passport.
Be aware that if the operator suspects you to be under-aged, they will suspend your account until you can prove otherwise.
Are my online gambling winnings taxable?
Good news for all of us punters: In Australia, you won’t be charged tax on any winnings you accumulate from gambling online. While Australia do charge gambling taxes, they are deducted to the betting providers.
You will therefore never have to give a portion of your winnings away!