Is Online Gambling Illegal in Australia?
The concept of gambling as an accepted social activity was brought over to Australia by the people that had colonised the country in the past, mostly those coming from what is now called the United Kingdom. As a result, there has been an increased expectation for legalised gambling. This was followed by an increase in the horse racing betting industry that is still very popular today. Due to this, Australia had to develop legislation that governed a vast range of gambling forms, including most of the classical casino tables.
Australian Gambling Legislation
To date Australia is one of the most gambler-friendly countries on the planet. Recently studies showed that over 80% of the population takes part in one way or another in some type of gambling. How deeply rooted the gambling culture is among the Australians is perhaps best illustrated by the curious law that makes it legal for anyone to play two-up on ANZAC day, that is the day on which Australia and New Zealand commemorate the Army Corps. This is done in order to mark a shared experience with the Diggers throughout the ages.
Historically Australia has shown an aggressive prohibition of unlicensed gambling, as well as a ready provision of licensed gambling. Thus it comes of no surprise that there has been such a big increase in the casino and sport betting industry. Some might argue on whether this is moral or not, but in the meantime both parties involved are benefiting from the situation. The Australians can enjoy the government’s relaxed position with respect to gambling, whereas the government can keep on taking advantage from tax benefits of this system.
Having said that, it is quite surprising that the online casino market that emerged in the 90s was not at all welcomed. The primary problem is that the Internet as a whole is practically impossible to control. Keeping in mind that most of the world’s online casino companies operated from outside Australia, the government would not be able to extract any taxes from them. So, people who would be otherwise investing money in local casinos, would be playing online; not a pleasant situation in the stakeholders’ eyes!
As such, in the pursuit of reaching an ideal method by which the Internet could be effectively policed, the Australian Interactive Act of 2001 (IGA) was passed. What is interesting to know is that the IGA does not criminalise the act of playing at an online casino. The law forbids an online casino, excluding sports betting, that falls under Australian jurisdiction, to accept money from a player that is logging on from Australia.
In Conclusion, Is Online Gaming in Australia Legal or Not?
Let’s make things clear, it is not illegal for Australian players to play at an online casino. On the other hand, it is illegal for any company that falls under Australian laws to provide any online gaming services to the Australians. Now, since most, if not all, online casinos do not operate under Australian laws, they are more or less unconcerned by the threat of prosecution in Australia. So far, there hasn’t been any operator that has been prosecuted under these laws.
To conclude we can confidently state that you should not worry about playing online. It is not illegal and you wouldn’t be undertaking any risk whatsoever!