Online gambling laws in Australia
Study our guide to online gambling legislation and learn how the law applies to you.
The legal regulation of online gambling varies substantially from nation to nation, state to state. Therefore, it is important to understand the legality of online gambling in your territory before attempting to play via the internet.
In June 2001 the Australian Government passed the Interactive Gambling Act 2001, which made it an offence to provide an interactive gambling service to any customer who is physically present in Australia. It is not an offence, however, for Aussies to play casino games online. Sports betting online is totally legal in Australia.
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The history of online gambling legislation
Although online gambling software hit the market in 1994, it was not until 1996 that internet gambling was legally recognised.
The Kahnawake Gaming Commission (based in the Mohawk Indian Territory of Kahnawake) was founded to regulate online gambling and keep all gaming operations fair and transparent.
As internet play continued to gain popularity, several governments became uneasy. Not only were there concerns about the impact of online gambling at a social level, but it was felt that it represented unwanted competition for domestic leisure industries. On top of that, online gambling was extremely difficult to regulate and tax.
As a result, many countries passed laws to limit – even ban – the activities of online gambling brands within their borders. Nonetheless, the industry still turns over tens of billions of dollars every year.
Can I play online?
There are a few factors that determine your legal status as an online gambler. First and foremost, you need to find out whether online gambling is legal in your region. If not, you could be at risk of serious repercussions.
Remember, when you sign up at a casino it is your responsibility to establish your eligibility to play. If you sign up and prove to be ineligible, for any reason, you could face a ban and lose your bankroll, including any deposits.
The following countries prohibit online gambling. While you may still be able to create an account at casino websites based overseas, you could find it difficult to withdraw funds. That said, many players successfully bypass restrictions with the use of proxies, but you take this risk at your peril!
Note: players from restricted regions may still be permitted to play free games at online casinos. Also, a limited number of online casinos can legally cater to American players in the state of New Jersey.
- The Bahamas
- Dubai (UAE)
- Hong Kong
- The Netherlands
- Saudi Arabia
- South Korea
- United States
Some countries either have ambiguous legislation in regards to online gambling or none at all, making the legality of internet play difficult to establish. Alternatively, these regions may allow some forms of gambling (such as lotteries) but block others, or permit gambling at locally licensed operators but not international brands. These are called ‘grey markets’.
Players from such regions are permitted to gamble by many casino brands. However, they might not be able to use certain payment methods, so we advise researching the casino and contacting their support for clarification before depositing.
Players from grey markets may also be ineligible for certain bonuses. Typically, online casinos prohibit players from Eastern European countries such as Romania and Serbia from claiming no deposit bonuses. Due to several cases of attempted fraud, casinos do not consider it cost-effective to process such bonuses.
- The Netherlands
- New Zealand
- El Salvador
- South Africa
Countries where gambling is legal
The following countries permit online gambling in all its forms, meaning customers from these regions can access all products and promotional offers at any of our featured websites.
- Antigua & Barbuda
- Costa Rica
- United Kingdom
While age limits for gambling will vary from region to region, the vast majority of online casinos prohibit users under the age of 18 from real-money play. However, many casino websites do not use an age gate, meaning minors can still access their content.
Money laundering and fraud
It is estimated that millions of dollars are laundered every year through online gambling, while some disreputable websites have been accused of serving as fronts for criminal operations. Fraudsters, posing as casino brands, have been known to exploit players by withholding funds and lifting card details.
Check out our online safety section for information about protecting yourself online.
It’s not just the players that are vulnerable. Cybercriminals posing as players have used online gambling and bonuses to launder ‘dirty’ money through internet transactions. To prevent these abuses, online casinos require players to email scans of their passports to corroborate with their banking details.
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