Online gambling is one of the fastest-growing industries in the current market economy. Countries like the UK, Sweden and Canada have witnessed huge returns since they regulated gambling efficiently.
However, a few other places, like Australia and the US, have adopted a more rigid approach to iGaming – banning it altogether. So, here we are, exploring whether people from Australia can legally play pokies online in 2023.
Gambling Regulations in Australia
Different pieces of legislation address gambling in Australia, while the right to allow or ban gambling activities remains within the state rights. Generally speaking, casinos and land-based gambling is legal in most Australian states and people engage in various related-activities:
- Table Games
- Sports Betting
- Horse Racing
However, when it comes to online gambling, the Australian Government has taken a quite different approach.
The Interactive Gambling Act 2001
Since 2001, any interactive gambling activity, the likes of which are offered by online casinos, is prohibited in Australia. Companies based in or outside Australia, which provide online gambling services are engaging in an offense under this law; the law specifically states that it targets the companies who offer their services online, rather than players who engage in these practices.
Online casinos who defy the law and still engage within the Australian market face quite large fines.
What does this mean for Pokies players in Australia?
People in Australia who still feel like playing pokies online can do so, without having to search much. Many online casinos based outside Australia still choose to offer their services to Aussie players, ignoring the dangers of getting fined.
There are, however, a few things that Aussie punters who decide to play pokies online should remember.
Mostly Small Casino Brands still Operate in Australia
Firstly, the online casinos that risk their reputation and ignore the law, do so because they don’t really have a huge profile. Most online Australian casinos are small or relatively new brands, who choose to target this market since the stronger brands abide by the law.
Some of the still-active Aussie online casinos have built a large player base, just because the competition has moved to other countries that gambling is legally regulated.
Then, there is also the issue that most of these online casinos do not carry a license from one of the most trusted Gambling Authorities. Why?
Because if they did, they would not risk losing it by breaking the law and offering their services in countries that they prohibit online gambling. As a result, players who feel that the casino is not treating them fairly, or if they are concerned about its safety/transparency, do not have anywhere to turn.
In contrast, if a licensed online casino breaks the rules or misleads players through complicated Terms & Conditions, then they can be reported to their gambling regulator. These entities force casinos to change behavior based on players’ feedback, or they can lose their license.
Then, why do Australians still use these online casinos?
The above does not really discourage players from engaging with these online casinos, because the legislation does not specifically target them, but the online casinos that operate illegally in Australia.
The one true danger that Aussie pokies players face, is the risk of the casino they trust their money in going bankrupt due to fines from the Australian Government. This does not happen often, but it is still a risk that each player would have to take in order to play online pokies.
Things to Consider if you play pokies Online
We do not advise anyone to gamble online, indifferently to where they reside. However, as many people choose play slots and casino games online anyway, we have some specific points that Aussie casino players should take a note of:
- Always check the footer of the casino homepage and ensure that the casino is licensed from at least one gambling authority. The most trusted ones are the MGA, the UKGC and the Government of Gibraltar, but even a license through the Government of Curacao is better than nothing.
- Further, it is paramount that you play on a casino that provides games from trusted software providers. These companies ensure that their games employ a Random Number Generator and a reasonable Return to Player rate, which determine the profit that the casino makes over the players in the long run.
- The Terms & Conditions of regulated casinos have to be clear and easy to understand by players. Many questionable online casinos in Australia use this aspect to trick players, by adding impressive bonuses, which work quite differently in practice – making it almost impossible for the player to make profit.
Websites like pokies.bet make the life of Aussie punters easier though, by reviewing accessing the safety and other aspects of online casinos.
Key Points to Remember
It should be evident by now that although land-based gambling activities are allowed in Australia, online casinos and online gambling is not. Players from Australia can access a huge range of online casinos, however, without being at risk of fines or criminal charges themselves.
The main drawback is that the online Australian casinos tend to have questionable reputations and there is an ongoing risk of players losing their casino funds and having nowhere to appeal.
Whether it is wise to ban online gambling or regulate it and profit from it instead, remains a topic that the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) should consider based on evidence from other countries.
6 Benefits in Favour of Regulating Gambling
Regulating gambling is beneficial for both players and the governments that regulate it.
Most of the benefits that the players enjoy in a country that regulates gambling can be guessed through the negative aspects that we mentioned in relation to unregulated casinos in Australia.
However, there are also so many benefits for the government and therefore the people living in the countries that choose to regulate gambling:
- Anti-Money Laundering – It is not uncommon for people to launder money through online casinos. Unregulated casinos can easily exploit this opportunity to make a profit, while the practice itself keeps occurring. Licensed casinos, on the other hand, are required to report any suspicious activity to the relevant authorities.
- Corruption in Sports – Betting sites’ job is to monitor patterns when deciding on the odds they create for their players to bet on. This positions them in the perfect place to identify corrupted behaviors in sports settings and report it.
- Advertising – The same organization that regulates gambling in Australia is also responsible for regulating illegal casinos. Due to the sheer volume of illegal casinos in Australia, none of the above is dealt with in a satisfactory way. Setting in place a regulatory body specifically for casinos, would allow truthful advertising to take place and would easily spot misleading adverts by illegal casinos.
- Minors Blocked – Legal and regulated casinos monitor their players in detail, ensuring that under 18s would never be able to play on their sites. Leaving gambling unregulated can easily have the opposite result.
- Support for Addicts – With gambling being unregulated, players cannot search for the help they need easily in order to deal with addiction or self-control issues they might face.
- Taxation – Lastly, regulating gambling can accumulate huge profits for the Government through taxes. For example, the UK alone netted over 3 billion in 2023 through gambling taxation.