How much do you know about Australia’s online gambling laws? Probably not much, and we won’t blame you because the legislation can be quite misleading on this subject.
Whether you’re getting started with online gambling or want to ensure you’re not going against the law, here’s what you need to know to enjoy a 100% legal gambling experience online.
- The most popular legal gambling websites
- Legal gambling 101: What is the Interactive Gambling Act?
- Key reforms to Interactive Gambling Act
- List of Prohibited Activities by the IGA
- How do I know the website I picked is legal?
- Is live wagering legal in Australia?
- What is the minimal legal age to gamble online?
- Are my online gambling winnings taxable?
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!
Here’s a list of legal operators who have the license to operate in Australia:
|Operator||Legal to Operate in Australia|
Legal gambling 101: What is the Interactive Gambling Act?
But while most forms of betting is allowed and available to the Australian public, current governmental restrictions do exist. 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.
Key reforms to Interactive Gambling Act
Through this amendment bill which is now being signed into law, online casino games, including poker, are practically illegal in the country. Minister Tudge’s piece of legislation was voted by the Australian House of Representatives in March. The bill was then sent to the Senate to be reviewed and voted on. Reforms to the Interactive Gambling Act 2001 (IGA) were passed by the Australian Parliament on 9 August 2017. The reforms received Royal Assent on 16 August 2017 and will come into effect on 13 September 2017.
The IGA amendments are part of the government’s key reforms to prevent illegal offshore gambling. They are in place to lessen the provision of illegal online gambling services to Australians through a more vigilant enforcement and disruption strategies, and they will be combined with nationally consistent consumer protections. Together, these measures were created to protect Australians in the online gambling market.
What does this mean exactly?
The law clearly states that it is illegal for gambling companies to provide gambling services to Australians unless they have the license to operate in an Australian state or territory. New tools for enforcement will be in place and those who violate it may face civil penalties. Some tough measures will be introduced in order to decimate illegal offshore gambling activities.
List of Prohibited Activities by the IGA
- interactive gambling services to customers in Australia
- unlicensed regulated interactive gambling service to customers in Australia
- broadcasting or publishing advertisements for these prohibited interactive gambling services
- provision of credit to customers by certain wagering service providers
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 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!