If you’re running an online poker site in Australia, you should have no real problems with local law enforcement; unless you try actually playing at your own site. Despite being one of the most gambling friendly countries on the planet, Australia has seriously strange online gaming laws.
In short, Australians can legally gamble online with offshore casinos, but they can’t use domestic sites. And in a similar vein, Aussie iGaming companies can operate freely, they just can’t serve Australians. Thus making Australia just one of many countries whose gaming laws don’t make much sense.
Australia is a free spirited nation that values individual freedoms and embraces the right to live your life as you see fit. So it’s not surprising to find that Aussies are some of the most prolific gamblers in the world.
A recent report from the Australian Gambling Commission (AGC) stated that Australians spent around $968 million AUD, or around $1 billion USD, online gambling in 2010. A full $611 million of that was spent on online sports betting. Those are the numbers reported from officially licensed sports books. It’s generally assumed that offshore books are picking up a lot more Aussie cash.
AU Legal Maze
It should be noted that sports betting, online and in-person, is perfectly legal, and widely accepted, in Australia. There are relatively few restrictions on sports betting. In-play betting isn’t allowed, but pretty much everything else flies.
As for other online gaming, Australian laws are a little upside down. Aussies can legally operate gaming sites, so long as they don’t serve fellow Australians. Australian citizens are free to play on gaming sites, provided they’re not based in Australia. Somehow this is supposed to help curb problem betting.
Odd as the Aussie gaming laws are, they do keep a thriving industry going, so complaining is tough to do. After all, anyone who wants to operate or play at an online gaming site is free to do so.
People tend to forget that Australia is part of the Asian Pacific market and that sector is primed for a gaming boom. How much Australian online gaming will be impacted by that is question that’s yet to be answered. Land based Aussie casinos have seen their business decline due to competition from high rolling land casinos in Macau and Singapore.
No matter what else happens, you can bet on the fact that Australian igaming will continue to be big business.
What are your experiences with Australian gaming? Share them with us on our Online Gambling Laws and Regulations Forum.