Gambling Laws In Australia

Australian FlagAustralia is a gambling nation. It is one of the most trafficked markets in the country through legal brick-and-mortar channels, but online gambling is a different story. This page is dedicated to explaining the full legal structure of gambling in Australia and has information on the standing laws, any amendments, the regulatory bodies in charge and more. You will learn about which gambling options are legal and which ones to avoid. Australia is a vast gambling community, but it is well regulated. Use this page as a legal resource for gambling options in Australia and our homepage as a resource for gambling laws by country.

Is Gambling Legal In Australia?

Yes, but only certain forms of gambling. Australian gambling laws were quite lenient in the past, allowing for brick-and-mortar establishments and some online gambling options. The current legal gambling framework still permits brick-and-mortar gambling, but online options are scarce due to tighter restrictions. There are explanations of the laws below.

Gambling Laws In Australia

Interactive Gambling Act 2001 – The Interactive Gambling Act was Australian Parliament’s way of addressing online gambling. At the time, Aussies were able to access locally based sites for real money games. Offshore gambling sites were also an option. This law targeted domestic operators and made it illegal for them to offer services to residents. It also made it an illegal offense to advertise Australian online gambling products and services locally (including all forms of media). The law permitted domestically based online sites to offer services to ‘designated countries,’ but not local citizens. The only form of domestic online wagering allowed was sports betting through a local service. You can find more information on our Interactive Gambling Act 2001 page.

Interactive Gambling Amendment Bill 2016 – Australian gambling laws remained the same for more than a decade. It wasn’t until 2016 that changes were made. These changes came through the Interactive Gambling Amendment Bill 2016. The new IGA tightened restrictions on online gambling by banning almost all digital gambling forms, no matter if they are licenced offshore or not. The amendment also ceased all gambling advertisements during sporting events. Any online operator wishing to do business in Australia must obtain a licence through the proper regulatory channels. In-play betting was another target of this bill and made it illegal for local punters to participate in. Learn more about the specifics of this law on our Interactive Gambling Amendment Bill 2016 page.

Regional Laws – Gambling legislation is divvied up between individual states and provinces. These laws are similar in nature but have minute differences between them. As such, it is important to understand the different territorial legal codes pertaining to gambling based on where you reside in Australia. Our Australian Regional Laws page has more information on the individual laws.

Who Regulates Gambling In Australia?

Gambling regulation in Australia is twofold. There are some federal departments tasked with widespread regulation, but the bulk of responsibility lies with individual states and provinces. This site focuses on the federal end of regulation and covers:

  • The Australian Communications and Media Authority
  • Polices telephone and online (remote) gambling
  • The Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre
  • Regulates money laundering activities
  • The Australian Federal Police
  • Enforces interactive gambling and financial legislation

Forms Of Legal Gambling In Australia

There are multiple land-based gambling establishments that are considered legal in Australia. These include brick-and-mortar casinos which host slots, table games, poker (including pokies, or virtual poker machines) and more. Sports and race betting is considered legal in Australia, but only through properly licenced and regulated outlets. In fact, sports betting is the only form of online gambling legally permitted to be offered to Australian residents from domestically based sites. The largest online platform is known as TAB and hosts sports gambling and racing bets. There is no in-play betting allowed per the local gambling laws.

Minimum Gambling Age in Australia

In Australia, the minimum gambling age is standard nationwide. To enter a casino in Australia, regardless of state, requires gamblers to meet the minimum age of eighteen. This fixed legal age applies to lottery ticket purchasing, sports betting and race betting, bingo, casino games, poker and all real money betting.

Curtailing Gambling Addiction In Australia

The reason why gambling laws are so stringent is that Australia has a high number of cases of problem gambling. Gambling addiction is taken very seriously in the country and there are multiple regulations in place to keep it in check. This is why in-play betting is considered illegal and not allowed via any licenced and regulated Australian betting outlet. The government made changes to protocols in the time leading up to the IGA 2016. These changes were meant to help problem bettors in the country. For example, there is a self-exclusion register for online bookmakers. This helps to keep problem gamblers from accessing sites. There is another option for bookmakers to establish a betting limit to help gamblers avoid getting into financial hardships. Some bookmakers used to be allowed to offer lines of credit, however, this practice has since been disallowed.

Any Reformations Planned For The Near Future?

There may some further amendments to the IGA. If anything, these would strengthen the restrictions on licenced offshore gambling sites. As things stand now, individuals are not targeted for using offshore sites. Some sites’ IP addresses may be blocked, but there are others still accessible to Aussie punters. Perhaps new legislation would tighten reinforcements on individuals as opposed to just operators.

Gambling Laws Lead To Gambling Operator Exit

Since the gambling laws have gotten so restrictive, many online operators decided to leave the Australian market. For example, notable online poker sites like 888Poker left with the passing of the reformed IGA. The new laws create potential financial hardships and limit these operators’ access to a lucrative gambling pool, so it makes sense why they would leave. Some groups are lobbying for certain operators to be permitted, but the current framework makes it difficult for any licenced online gambling operator to have a legitimate chance in this market. As of now, there are no concrete plans to change the legislation.

Gambling Help Resources In Australia