Australian online gambling laws in 2020
Australian online gambling laws in 2020
The future of online casinos in Australia are dependent on a variety of complex factors. With legislators and amendment bills calling for significant changes to the current national laws applying to Internet wagering, the real money online gaming landscape could dramatically be reformed in a way it hasn’t been since the first Interactive Gaming Act was implemented sixteen years ago. With so many names, reviews, and proposed changes, keep up-to-date with our handy guide to the latest developments in Australian gambling laws pertaining to online casinos.
What are the current laws for online casinos in Australia?
The Interactive Gambling Act 2001 (IGA) was the first piece of Australian legislation introduced by the Howard government which specifically aimed to address online gambling. Distinct from other Australian laws governing online bookmaker sites, the IGA made it illegal for operators based in the country to advertise and offer real money interactive gambling services to Australian residents. By their definition, it includes casinos, online poker, scratch cards, online pokies and more. The act emphasised accessing and using said interactive gambling services weren’t an offence, and Australian-based companies could still offer their gambling services to punters located outside of Australia.
Following amendments to the Act passed through the Senate on March 20, 2017, current Australian gambling law does not allow offshore online casinos to offer their services to Australian residents, even if the casino venue in question is fully licensed and regulated by advanced gaming jurisdictions like the Malta Gaming Authority and United Kingdom Gambling Commission. The IGA does not specifically prohibit Australians to gamble on the Web at casinos operating in foreign countries offering real money wagering services interactive pokies and table games) to Australians.
The only thing Aussie residents always need to look out for to be sure they’re safe is that the offshore online casino is licensed and regulated by known, trusted gambling jurisdictions and licensees. Click forward to our linked guides for further information – and all the casino sites we recommend are audited and safeguarded by trustworthy global watchdogs, which we have tested and verified ourselves as real money players.
The rapidly changing digital landscape has caused several anti-gambling politicians and others within the government to propose amendments to the IGA so it can apply more appropriately to how online gambling currently is operating. Only in late 2016 did the Australian public finally be informed of potential new legislation changes to the existing act.
On 10 November 2016, the Australian Government officially introduced the Interactive Gambling Amendment Bill 2016, also known as the IGA Amendment Bill, into the House of Representatives.
The bill is a result of the 2015 O’Farrell Review into Illegal Offshore Wagering. It proposes changes to the Interactive Gambling Act 2001, outlined in the O’Farrell report.
The IGA 2001 itself was introduced during a time when online gambling was still in its infancy and many Australians didn’t have access to the Internet, so it natural to assume the Australian government would eventually make a move to update it. As outlined by the government, the bill is the first part of the government’s response to the aforementioned O’Farrell review, and they want to break it down in three key stages:
- Crack down on illegal offshore gambling providers
- Clarify the law by prohibiting ‘click to call’ in-play wagering services to respect the original intent of the Interactive Gambling Act
- Establish a strong National Consumer Protection Framework (NCPF)
The original O’Farrell review states $64 million and $400 million are gambled at ‘illegal’ offshore providers, “resulting in lost revenue, weaker consumer protection and heightened sports integrity concerns” – essentially, they want to crack down on offshore operators. The ‘click-to-call’ in-play betting services are also considered by the government to be a breach of the Interactive Gambling Act.
The new regulatory framework (NCPF) will apply across every state and territory in Australia. Currently, each state and jurisdiction regulates Internet wagering differently. With this new consumer protection framework, the Australian Government claims it will “empower empower individual gamblers to ensure that problem gambling is minimised”, by introducing a national self-exclusion register for online wagering, a voluntary pre-commitment scheme for online wagering; and a ban on lines of credit which are often loaned to players from some online casinos.
What does this mean for Australians playing at online casinos?
Essentially, the IGA Amendment Bill seeks to make online casinos based, licensed and regulated in overseas territories unable to provide wagering services to Australian citizens. Why? Because they lack a wagering license within Australia, and thus are, in the government’s classification, illegal offshore gambling providers. Coupled with the loss of revenue and constant calls of amendments, it was only a matter of time before said proposals were made.
The current law is ambiguous as to whether or not offshore online casinos can provide wagering services to Australian players, and this is why we still can, for the time being, legally play at online casinos licensed across the globe. While the future is still relatively uncertain, you can rest at ease for the time being and enjoy your favourite online pokies and table games at the top casino sites – it’s all still 100% legal until, or if the Amendment Bill is passed.