Gambling Down Under? This article gives you all the facts and stats about Australian gambling laws. Our comprehensive guide covers the critical points of regulators, modern law, and the history of gambling legislation in Australia. Scroll down to learn the ins and outs of placing bets in Australia today.
How Does Australia Regulate Gambling?
Unlike the UK, Australia does not have a single governing body that regulates gambling. Instead, gambling businesses must adhere to federal laws and statutes enforced by the commission of the State or Territory.
Therefore, there are various regulatory bodies:
South Australia - Independent Gambling Authority
Queensland - Office of Liquor and Gaming Regulation
Australian Capital Territory - ACT Gambling and Racing Commission
Northern Territory - Licensing Commission
New South Wales - Office of Liquor, Gaming and Racing
Victoria - Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation
Western Australia - Department of Racing, Gaming, and Liquor
Tasmania - Tasmanian Gaming Commission
Australia has one act that regulates gambling activities. Be aware that the purpose of this legislation is more to keep businesses in check than individual players like you.
Gambling at Online Casinos in Australia
According to the Australian Government's website, it is illegal to provide or advertise online casino services to people in Australia. Yet, Australian-based online casinos can accept gamers from other countries as long as it is legal in that country.
The Interactive Gambling Act (2001) brought in these restrictions. The law doesn't cover non-interactive betting. As a result, it doesn't apply to sports betting or lotteries competitions.Also, this law mainly concerns businesses - no legislation can prosecute you for playing at gambling sites in Australia.
Consequently, many of the best online casinos accept customers from Down Under. Though this is good news if you enjoy hunting for cash prizes online, many scam sites are looking to rip you off. Therefore, we recommend that you only play at casinos that our expert team have reviewed.
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The History of Gambling Down Under
Although the history of gambling in Australia probably started as soon as Europeans set foot on this vast island, the first recorded activity didn't occur until the 19th century.
The earliest reports of gambling activity in Australia was betting on a horse race in 1810 at Hyde Park in Sydney. This competition followed a strict format: each horse ran a two-mile race every day for three days, the winner was the horse whose performance was the best overall. As a result, winning a bet was a lot trickier than it is today.
Australia's first lottery took place in 1849 in Sydney. The event caused much controversy as many people thought it was illegal. Despite its questionable legality, the government of the time allowed it to go ahead. Governers saw the lottery as a welcome distraction from the 1840s economic depression.
The First Slot Machines
The 1950s was a pivotal point in Australia's gambling history - pubs and clubs started to house slot machines. Known as pokies in Oz, these machines heralded the start of legal gambling in Australia. However, you could only find these casino games in the Australian Capital Territory.
It took a lot longer to approve pokies in other territories - the last gaming authority to change the law to allow people to play slot machines was the Northern Territory Licensing Commission. This regulatory body passed The Gaming Control Act in 1998.
Although you could play slot machines in the 1950s, Australia's first casino opened in 1973. The delayed opening of the Wrest Point Hotel in Tasmania, which still operates today, was because the government of the time frowned upon gambling.
However, after various attempts to gain a casino licence and a public referendum in 1968, the casino finally opened.
Australian Gambling Facts
Although Australia has a tricky relationship with gambling, it has a strong gaming industry and culture. Our experts have picked out a few interesting Australian gambling facts that might surprise you.
In 2018 the Australian government earned 6.2 billion Australian dollars - this is worth around 4.8 billion US dollars - in revenue from gambling activities. Taking the population size of 25.7 million into account, this is a staggering amount of money.
This simple coin game originated in Australia. It works by selecting one person to be the “spinner”. The spinner throws two coins in the air, while other players bet on how the coins will land. You can choose obverse; heads facing upwards, reverse; both tails are facing up, or the combination of one head and one tail called Ewan.
There are many variations of this game - some use four coins or more. As two-up is a form of unregulated gambling, it is illegal. But, bizarrely, you can legally play this game on certain days in New South Wales and Victoria.
In 1989, the NSW government passed the Gaming and Betting Amendment Act, which stated that games of two-up on Anzac Day were no longer illegal. Also, you can play two-up in NSW on Victory in the Pacific Day (August 15) and Remembrance Day, but only after 12 pm.
The state of Victoria also enforced these rules in 1991. The law declares that you cannot organise the game for profit. As a result, clubs or pubs cannot charge you an entry fee to play unless the proceeds go to charity. However, if you feel like playing two-up on other days, head to Broken Hill in NSW.
This mining town secured a special licence from the NSW government, which means you can enjoy this Australian coin game all year round.
No Taxes On Wins
If you win when gambling in Australia, you don't have to pay taxes. There are no winnings taxes because of three reasons: the government does not consider gambling a profession, sees gains from gambling activities as a result of good luck instead of income, and prefers to tax operators.
First, all gambling service providers must hold a valid license and pay the fees on income. Once the company is earning good money, it has to pay taxes on the net profit, turnover, player loss or anything the state demands. The rate of taxation depends on the regulations in place in the state or territory.
Is gambling legal in Australia?
As we've mentioned in this guide on Australian gambling laws, it is illegal to provide online gambling services such as casino games to players in the country. However, no legislation will prosecute a person for playing these types of games. Many people, therefore, do play at online gambling sites and online casinos based outside of Australia accept AUD.
What is the most popular type of gambling in Australia?
According to a government study, 6.8 million people in Australia gambled in a typical month of 2015 and mainly participated in lotteries (76%). The study also found that instant scratch tickets were the second most popular form of gambling(22%), and electronic gaming, such as online casino games, was close behind in third (21%).
What is a pokie?
A pokie is an Australian term for land-based and online slot machines. If you enjoy playing these casino games for real cash prizes, you've come to the right place. Here at NewFreeSpinsNoDeposit, we work with the best online casinos to bring your exclusive new free spin no deposit bonuses and other generous promotions.
What is the gambling age in Australia?
You have to be at least 18 years old to gamble in Australia. Each state has its own regulatory body for gambling laws, but the legal gambling age is always 18+. Therefore, if you are under 18 and choose to gamble, you and the service provider will be breaking the law.
Who regulates gambling in Australia?
Eight governing bodies regulate gambling in separate Australian states: the Independent Gambling Authority, Tasmanian Gaming Commission, the Department of Racing, Gaming, and Liquor, Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation, Office of Liquor Gaming and Racing, Office of Liquor and Gaming Regulation, ACT Gambling and Racing Commission, and the Licensing Commission.