Australia traditionally has the reputation of being one of the most gambler-friendly countries around. Up to 80% of Australians have been reported to enjoy some form of gambling, whether it is sports betting, lotteries, pokies in clubs or casinos. That being said, Australia takes a very different view on land-based gambling, than it does on online gambling.
A Brief History of Gambling Legislation in Australia
Gambling was traditionally the responsibility of the individual states, rather than the Commonwealth. As the gambling industry expanded, particularly with the introduction of online gambling, the Commonwealth Government took a greater interest.
Online gambling creates issues in the areas of regulation, revenue collection and community welfare. Due to these concerns, the Federal Government passed laws in an attempt to regulate the gambling industry, as well as to reduce the negative impact that gambling can potentially have on Australian society.
These concerns fuelled the Australian Government to institute an enquiry through the Productivity Commission. This is the background to the passing of the Interactive Gambling Act in 2001.
The Interactive Gambling Act 2001
Due to the fact that online gambling is so difficult to monitor and regulate, the Interactive Gambling Act (IGA) 2001 was passed by the Australian Government on 28 June, 2001. The aim of the IGA was to protect Australian residents from the harmful effects of gambling.
The IGA however, targets interactive gambling service providers and not the customers themselves. In other words, it is illegal to provide an interactive gambling license to an operator that is physically present in Australia and it is illegal for an interactive gambling service to be provided to customers in Australia, but it is fully legal for the individual Australian resident to play at online casinos.
The law does not require the closure of Australian casinos that were that were licensed before the Interactive Gaming Act of 2001 was passed, however it does prohibit the opening of any new Australian online casinos.
Sports betting online is fully legal in Australia and a number of state government licensed sportsbooks operate, such as Betfair, CentreBet and SportingBet.
Can Australians Play at Online Casinos?
The simple answer is “yes” – individual Australians can play at Australian casinos. The Interactive Gambling Act of 2001 does not prohibit Australians from logging onto, depositing funds into and playing casino games at online casinos.
As such, most online casinos accept players from Australia and even target Australians by accepting Australian dollars for transaction, offering free call numbers for Australians to use for customer service support and offering promotions that appeal to their Australian clientele.
Where to Find Online Casinos Accepting Australians
It is as easy for Australians to find online casinos to play at as it is for players from anywhere else in the world. Australians, as individuals, are not breaking any laws or doing anything illegal by playing at an online casino. As long as the individual is able to find an online casino that accepts Australian players, they are able to play at the online casino.