Best Australian online casinos
Gambling is a huge part of Australian culture, with this country’s citizens participating in gambling activities at the highest rate worldwide. In light of this high gambling rate, Australia’s government has been forced to take measures against an unfortunate side effect of this popularity – problem gambling.
That said, responsible Australian gamblers have plenty of choice when it comes to safe and regulated betting opportunities, as well as access to resources and support if they feel problem gambling is becoming an issue for them.
On this page, we will be explaining the basics of Australian gambling legislation and how it affects players, whether they prefer gambling in person at dedicated venues or online. We will also be taking a look at gambling culture in Australia and how it has changed over recent years.
Navigate to the following topics:
- Australian casino reviews
- Gambling laws in the Australia
- Gambling culture in the Australia
- Land-based casinos in the Australia
- Online gambling in the Australia
- Online casinos accepting Australian players
- How we review online casinos
Australian casino reviews
Gambling laws in Australia
There are eight territories in Australia and much like their friends across the Pacific in Canada, each one has its own set of laws that govern gambling in that particular area. Victoria, New South Wales, Western Australia, Northern Territory, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania and the Australian Capital Territory each have their own gambling regulating body.
Each territory has a number of different legal acts regulating gambling activities and these came into force at different times, some as early as the 1960s and as late as the 2000s. One activity that is expressly prohibited throughout the country is in-play betting. While standard sports bets are allowed, Australians are banned from making wagers on events that have already started if the service is offered by a sportsbook operator based in Australia.
The most important bit of legislation regarding online gambling is the Interactive Gambling Act, or IGA, passed in 2001, as well as the Interactive Gambling Amendment of 2016. We will discuss these a little later, under the section dedicated to online gambling.
Gambling culture in Australia
Australia is a country of gamblers. Data collected in 2007 showed that some 80% of Australian adults partake in some form of gambling and we’re willing to bet that number hasn’t decreased in the years since. Between 2016 and 2017, Australians gambled an astonishing $209 billion. That averaged out to about $11,000 per year, per person.
Sports betting is extremely popular in Australia and events like the Melbourne Cup horse race bringing in massive wagers. Thousands of sports betting outlets exist around the country. Another popular gambling activity is slot machines or ‘pokies’ as these are known. These machines can be found in casinos, pubs, bars, restaurants and the like, making them easily available.
Lotteries, keno and scratch cards (or ‘scratchies’) are also a popular choice among Australians, offering gambling opportunities outside the typical casino or pub environment.
Land-based casinos in Australia
There are currently 20 land-based casinos in Australia and each state and territory has at least one of them. These offer a range of casino games including roulette, pokies, blackjack, and others. The venues themselves often include fine dining and entertainment facilities, as well as resort-style accommodation.
One interesting thing to note is the resurgence of interest in poker. Back in 2005, Lebanese-Australian player Joe Hachem became the first Aussie to win the World Series of poker, raking in $7.5 million. Although poker was already well known before his win, Hachem’s performance fuelled what has been called the ‘poker boom’, an increased demand for Texas Hold ‘Em and other variations of the game.
Online gambling in Australia
The Interactive Gambling Act of 2001 is the bit of legislation that is of most interest to us as online players. What’s interesting about this act is that it is aimed not at players but at operators. Australia was one of the first countries to regulate the burgeoning online gambling industry with this act.
In short, the IGA prohibits anyone to offer interactive gambling products and unlicensed iGaming products to Australian customers. Australian-based iGaming products also cannot be offered to players in other countries.
The products mentioned above include slots, roulette, poker and so on, pretty much the whole gamut of games we are used to seeing at online casinos. Betting on sports, horse racing and auto racing are permitted, as long as the bets are not conducted in-game.
The IGA allows the Australian government to come down hard on operators in breach of these prohibitions, with penalties starting at $220,000 per day for individuals and $1.1 million per day for companies. However, while the text of the IGA implies that it extends beyond Australia’s shores, in reality the legislation has no teeth. Australian players can enjoy casino games at online sites with no consequence and many operators outside the country allow Australian players to join and play.
In 2016, an amendment to the IGA was passed. This closed some loopholes that the original act had created, primarily with allowing in-game betting to take place over the phone. It also came down hard on online poker, leading to the closure of the Australia-based branches of leading online gambling sites to pull out of the country. Of course, this still doesn’t shut the door on Australian players wishing to gamble at online casinos and to date, there have been no penalties for this kind of action.
Online casino licensing
Individual states and territories act as regulators for gambling activity within their respective jurisdictions and these bodies usually handle liquor licensing as well. The Australian Communications and Media Authority or ACMA is the regulator in charge of keeping an eye on operators to ensure they stick to the rules.
The Australian government does not have the power to license gambling activities, whether online or land-based, so players looking for an Aussie-licensed online casino will be looking for a long time. That said, players can look to licensing by other reputable institutions to gauge the quality of an online casino they wish to visit.
Casinos licensed by the Malta Gaming Authority and/or the UK Gambling Commission will have had to adhere to some of the strictest regulations in the industry, so players can count on these to judge whether a casino is worth their time or not.
Gambling age restrictions
The legal gambling age in Australia is 18. This means that only those aged 18 and over can access land-based casinos, online sports betting or other online gambling products. No reputable online casino will allow players younger than 18 to access their services so this corresponds neatly with Australia’s legal age limit.
Online casinos accepting Australian players
How we review online casinos
At RightCasino, we do the hard work so you don’t have to. All the casinos we feature are rigorously tested on a number of different aspects, including safety and security, customer service, game offering and more, so all you need to do is read our comprehensive coverage to get a picture of what you can expect.
Australian players can look out for AUD on the list of accepted currencies if they would like to avoid exchanging their funds to another currency before they play. Beyond that, Australian players are free to play at any casino that accepts players from their country as there is no legislation prohibiting them from enjoying these products.