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Gambling Laws in Australia

15 August 2022

Due to the advent of the online casino for real money phenomenon, gambling laws are adapted to suit the new era. Sometimes it is confusing, what is permitted and what is forbidden. Let’s dive into the gambling laws in Australia and figure everything out.

Who Makes the Gambling Laws in Australia?

If we have to look at that specific law sphere of Australia, we better look at it from a distance.

Gambling laws in Australia in a lot of ways are organised the same way as they do in the United States. The national government has its say mostly on consumer protection matters. The rest is dealt with separately by the states and their local governments.

Australian Approach to Gambling Legalisation

Nevertheless, there are some distinctions between the Australian and the American approaches. Each area of the eight Australian states has from one to four casino facilities. Clubs, bars and other establishments of that kind are allowed to have pokies in every state, WA is an exception. You can also legally make sport bets in every form, be it online betting or betting shops.

But digging deeper reveals more interesting aspects of the gambling state policies in Australia. Particular states can set limits on maximum bets on slots in establishments like bars. While in most states you at least can wager on slots in bars, in WA you get the chance to do so only in a casino.

Online Gambling Laws in Australia

Online casino game laws in Australia are somewhat a simpler matter. The Australian online gambling laws don’t change from one state to another, because they are all dictated by the Interactive Gambling Act of 2001.

If gambling activities run on broadcasting, datacasting, and online, then it is an interactive kind of gambling and it falls under the act. Casino operators are banned from offering online activities like slots, poker, roulette, scratchies, and some others. Basically, any online game of chance is forbidden, if the main customer is someone who is located in Australia.

Instead of targeting players, the act targets the Australian or foreign own service providers, who are based in Australia or offshore. But the players should be extremely careful too since there are no guarantees that unlicensed online casinos are fair and won’t scam you.

Australian Sports Betting Laws

Now, Australian sports betting is a completely different story from Australia online casinos.

As we have previously mentioned, betting on sports in Australia, be it online betting or thousands of betting shops all around the continent, is legal. However, there are two regulations, under which every online sports betting website must operate:

  • Every betting website has to get a licence for operating in Australia.
  • Live betting is forbidden.

Live or in-play betting is an interactive type of gambling, thus it is forbidden by the IGA. In-play betting takes place after the game or match has started and before it has concluded. You place bets during the event, you ‘interact’. It may not and does not seem fair for some sporting bookmakers, yet it doesn’t change the fact that in-play betting is banned in Australia.

Australian Gambling Laws by State

The gambling laws in Australia don’t vary as much as they do in the US. Let’s look at them state by state:

  • ACT
    One traditional casino and about 5,000 slot machines. Bets are up to $10 and players can’t use notes higher than $20.

Casino Canberra has a monopoly for table games.

  • NSW
    Three traditional casinos and 100,000+ slots in entertainment facilities. Bets are up to $10 per game in non-casino places, yet unlimited in a casino.

Also, it is illegal to offer players wagering inducements. For example, welcome bonuses are forbidden. If violated, the bookmaker would have to pay a huge fine.

  • NT
    Two casinos, several betting shops, and around 2,000 slot machines. According to the gambling laws, the machines have a maximum bet of $5.
  • QLD
    4 casinos, which is the largest number across all 8 states. And it has nearly 50,000 slots in bars, hotels, etc. The bets are up to $5 per game, and the winnings are $25,000 maximum.
  • SA
    One casino and nearly 13,000 slot machines. Interestingly, South Australian slots don’t accept notes, only coins.
  • TAS
    It has 2 casinos and one of them – The Wrest Point – is the very first casino in Australia. Tasmania has about 3,500 slots. None of them accepts bills, only coins. The maximum bet is $5.
  • VIC
    Only one casino in the state, however, has nearly 30,000 slot machines. The local gambling laws allow bets up to $5 per game, you can use $20 and $50 notes.
  • WA
    Yet again, only one traditional casino. And it contains all of the 1,700+ of the state’s slot machines. On a plus side, the bet limit is $225.

FAQ

Can I play online poker in Australia?

No. Casino games, according to the gambling laws, are illegal online.

Are there any legal online casinos in Australia?

Find the names of the legal operators in the Australian Communications and Media Authority’s register.

What are the taxes on casino winnings in Australia?

There are no taxes for such winnings in Australia.

What are the resources to help problem gamblers?

Gamblers will find gambling resources and support on the Department of Social Services website.