Online Gambling Sites in Australia
An issue of online gambling in Australia
Online gambling is currently illegal in Australia, obeying to Gambling Act of 2001. Since then, several amendments to this document were adopted but none of them actually has changed the situation, only changing some minor rules in allowed betting: at sports and racing. We’re investigating the situation with the legality of online casino activity deeper in this article.
Online gambling in Australia 2021
Since the Interactive Gambling Act of 2001 was passed, the country factually forbade online gambling. According to opinion reviews, it was done in the fear that the nation would lose much money in online casinos, which would actually come out of the country, not bringing any significant positive impact on the local economy. And since Australians are quite a wealthy nation, the fear is not ungrounded. So, instead of forcing all casino operators to register locally and pay local taxes to keep at least anything in the country, the government walked the path of forbidding.
Several amendments were adopted since 2001. The one of 2017 did not much regulate the existing situation but added more bans:
- Gambling ad wouldn’t be allowed on:
- posters installed near roads
- closer than 150 meters to schools
- in any public vehicles
- All winnings’ withdrawal limit would be 500 AUD a day.
In 2018, the Australian government adopted the Broadcasting Legislation Amendment Bill, which allowed banning all advertising of online casino activities on TV, Internet, and radio before 8.30 PM each day.
Those on-land venues providing games for money would have to give up 20% of their existing pokie licenses twice: in 2019 and 2020. Also, now it was banned for legal operators to apply any online or automated bets on sports and racing events – every bet should have been made with voice by phone or in-person & that’s the only viable method left as of today.
The policy of local governments is clearly understood: to tighten up any form of money gaming to a maximal extent to avoid it in the future or to minimize it as much as possible at least.
Laws and regulations of online gambling in Australia connected to ACMA
ACMA is the Australian Communications and Media Authority, which is the government statutory authority that, amongst other rights, has the right to impose and collect fines from those parties who violate the legislation. As of today, its rights are somewhat broader than they were during 2001-2016 because of the 2017 amendment.
If in 2001-2016, ACMA found that some organization or company provides online casino services illegally, it should have addressed to the local Australian police for the investigation to initiate the legal procedure of punishing such a violator. But the police did not do anything in reality, as they were not interested in the outcome of such actions – they were all out of the scope of their jurisdiction and were too hard to investigate, bringing no tangible result in either case. So, the number of police investigation cases during 2001-2016 was zero.
Now, since 2017, ACMA received the rights to:
- fine violators without any court proceedings or addressing to the police
- contact licensing bodies of online casinos abroad to inform about the violation of Australian laws asking to prevent such illegal activity from violators, including asking to penalize a violator.
That did not change the situation much as well but now there is more legal field to work in, which already has caused some online casino venues to leave the country.
Player protection in online gambling
Fortunately, no changes and amendments had any drastic effect on individual gamblers in Australia because of a widespread form of evading current legislation by gambling facilities: registration outside Australia and welcoming players from this country. For a bigger effect, most online casinos do not even have a cross-currency rate exchange, accepting AUD from their customers.
That, however, is one of the pitfalls on the legal side: should anything adverse happen to a player, he or she is not protected by any law of Australia. Banking, administrative, criminal, and gambling legislation in the country can’t help if, for instance, an online casino decides not to pay winning or to block an account of a user with money stuck on it. The only thing is self-protection: playing in only reputable casinos out there, after studying pieces of feedback of other players. So, is online gambling illegal in Australia? It is not. Natural persons can play. But they do it at their own risk and discretion.
Tax policy on gambling sites
Given that in Australia, there are only sports and race betting legal according to gambling legislation Australia, the taxation, in reality, exempts online venues that provide gambling, which is illegal in the country. Gambling thus is free-played by punters and providers (all of the latter positioned physically outside Australian borders), without any taxes imposed on bets or winnings.
But as for sports and race betting, there are different taxes depending on an Australian territory:
- Victorian Government collects 8% of all bets made
- Australian Capital Territory collects 15%
- New South Wales State collects 10% since January 2019, according to local gambling regulations
- Western Australia gambling legislation imposes 15% tax from all gross winnings paid to punters but it frees volumes of winnings and jackpots in each operator below AUD 150,000 (for the protection of smaller operators).
Playing pokies and casino games online on the best online gambling sites
Today, Aussies can easily find hundreds of online casino venues, opened for them, according to online gambling statistics in Australia. Most places offer 1,000+ games, including loved pokies and other games like blackjack. The most reputable establishments are:
- OzWin Casino
- Pokies Parlour
- Casino Chan
- Joe Fortune
- King Johnnie.
They all provide humble requirements for minimum deposits (10-20 dollars only), safe online gambling, nice security of the gaming process, availability of accessing through a smartphone, flamboyant welcome bonuses (over $1,000), free spins, and they have popular replenishment channels, such as Visa, MasterCard, Bitcoin, and more. It is possible to find even those casinos, which give up to AUD 10,000 welcome bonus – according to existing online gambling reviews.
News about online gambling laws
In September 2019, another gaming ban was introduced: to cut online lotteries and Keno games. Now, every operator providing such games can be fined up to AUD 2,500 for providing them (by the Western Australian government). Also, all collected taxes for charitable purposes from legal betting provides were raised from 8% to 8.8%.