Some of you may know a thing or two about today’s subjects. Therefore, we left you the optionality to jump to each major heading from the navigation below. Of course, we will recommend you read the whole article to get the bigger picture and find how gambling evolved in Australia.

Gambling Laws in Australia – Is Gambling Legal in Australia?

Let’s get into specifics now and tell you more about the gambling laws in Australia. The legal situation in the country sounds a bit complicated from a first look. We can start with the fact that Australia is actually a federation, which in other words, means that a federal government controls eight states.

Okay, now we must clarify what exactly gambling means based on the gambling laws in Australia. It is an act of staking money or other valuable possessions on the outcome of an event with the chance to win a prize. If it does not fit this explanation, then it’s not gambling according to the Australian gambling laws.

When it comes to gambling laws in Australia, each state has its regulator dealing with the legislation of gambling establishments and their control. After all, gambling is super popular in Australia. Over 80% of adults are engaged with it somehow. From a global perspective, this country holds the highest gambling rates among its citizens.

Jockey Riding a Horse on a Race

Australian Gambling State Regulators

Gambling started gaining popularity in the distant 1800s when the first local horse races took place, but it got regulated many years later. In fact, each of the below-listed eight states has its own policy towards gambling. But each regulator holds the rights to release licences and inspect the premises of gambling establishments and, of course, their financial background.

The same applies to taxation, but there are no taxes for the players in Australia, only for gambling establishments. All the current fees are for the business, not the players. The Australian gambling laws online say that income received through good luck is not subject to any taxes. This applies to all eight regional regulators in Australia:

  • New South Wales: Liquor and Gaming New South Wales
  • Victoria: Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation and the Department of Justice and Community Safety
  • Australian Capital Territory: ACT Gambling and Racing Commission
  • Northern Territory: the NTRC
  • Western Australia: Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries;
  • South Australia: the Consumer and Business Services Department;
  • Tasmania: Liquor and Gaming Commission;
  • Queensland: Office of Liquor and Gaming Regulation

Knowing that there are different regulators, not necessarily means that they don’t communicate or help each other in the process. Depending on the matter, if a second opinion is needed is a common practice nowadays to share intelligence and help each other. Of course, there are some territorial differences in the approaches, but they are not relevant when it comes to the common good.

Know that these authorities are handling the licensing and audit of all local land-based casinos and other gaming places like racing tracks or bookies. Many of you will ask, but “what about the Australian gambling laws online?”. Well, Australia online gambling laws make online gambling platforms partly illegal, thanks to the revolutionary Interactive Act 2001.

Map of Australia from a Lower Angel

Interactive Act 2001 – New Online Gambling Laws in Australia

Australia is one of the first countries that officially banned online gambling when it was still in early development. In fact, that was done to protect the citizens of the country from potential offshore illegal casinos. So, the Interactive Act 2001 prohibited online gambling and the advertisement of gambling in general.

This is also the act that brought federal control over the Australia online gambling laws and the gambling laws in general. This is where it gets a bit confusing. All gambling audit and management is still in the hands of the local state authorities, but they are not all regulated by the federal law. So, yes, Australia online gambling laws prohibit online casinos, but still, there are several forms of gambling that are still available and considered legal by the government:

Now, don’t leave with the impression that you will be jailed if you play in offshore casinos. Indeed there are many great global online casinos that you can take advantage off. Nowadays, there are international operators with solid backgrounds and great reputations. However, now is the time to tell you more about the gambling history of Australia.

History of Gambling in Australia

Brief Gambling History of Australia

The history of gambling in Australia started in the early ages of the 19th century with the construction of the first racing track in Hyde Park, Sidney, in 1810. Maybe you don’t know, but Australia, along with the UK, USA, Japan, UAE, and others, is one of the countries hosting some of the biggest horse races in the world today. However, back then, there were no Australian gambling laws yet. Few decades after the racetrack was built, a massive wave of Chinese emigrants hit the continent and brought a wider variety of gambling games.

Almost half a century later, in 1840, the first Australian lottery was released in the continent’s history. It quickly gained popularity because it was already a hit in Britain. At the end of the century, in 1890, the first Australian ice hockey field was built, and the sport quickly became a subject of wagering.

Pokies Hall Sign and Working Hours

The extensive scientific and technological leap at the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century marked the start of a new type of sports – motorsport. The first official motor race in Australia was held in 1921.

Slot machines, or pokies like Australians like to call them, were invented at the end of the 19th century, but they gained substantial popularity in the first 50 years of the 20th century. In 1950, it became evident that regulation is needed, and in 1956 slot machines became legal and regulated by the states.

After the supervising authority was assembled in 1973, the first land-based casino opened its doors the same year. Its name was Wrest Point Hotel Casino in Tasmania, and up to this date, it is available for visitors. From that moment onwards, gambling became a hobby for many Australians.

Lost of Casino Resorts on the Oceans Coast

In the 90s, it became evident that over 80% of all Australians are gambling somehow. The first online casinos in Australia appeared in the same decade, while the government got worried about the overall impact of gambling on the people.

Due to the many money schemes of online casinos before the millennium, the Australian federal government passed the Interactive Act in 2001, which banned all online gambling venues. The Australian online gambling laws became strict towards that type of entertainment, but the land-based equivalents are still regulated and available.

Australian Gambling Laws Timeline
⌛ 1810: The first racing track opened doors in Hyde Park Sidney.
⌛ 1840: Chinese emigrants flooded the country and brought new gambling games to Australia.
⌛ 1880: The first Australian lottery was released.
⌛ 1913: Horse racing gained more popularity.
⌛ 1921: The first motorsport race took place – Alpine Rally.
⌛ 1950: Slot machines became widely popular and available.
⌛ 1956: The government legalised all gaming machines, and the first halls for pokies opened doors.
⌛ 1973: First Australian casino opened doors.
⌛ 1990-2000: First online casinos appeared in Australia.
⌛ 2001: The Interactive Act 2001 prohibited all types of online casino gambling in Australia.

Currently, there are over ten top-notch land-based casinos on the country’s territory, some of which are excellent resorts spread on large pieces of land. Further re-arrangements of Australian online gambling laws are needed, especially after the latest global health crisis and increased social distance. After all, we live in difficult times, and nobody knows when such changes in the laws could happen.

FAQ

We hope we were able to give you the information you were seeking to find. You probably have additional questions about the gambling laws in Australia, so we gathered the most frequently asked questions. If you decide to remind yourself of the information, click on the jump link located in every answer.

⚖️ Is online gambling legal in Australia?

There is no straight answer to that question because it depends on the type of gambling. For example, online casinos are prohibited, while online lotteries and sports betting are allowed. From the Australian gambling laws timeline you can see how laws changed through the centuries.

⚖️ What are the legal types of gambling in Australia?

The gambling laws in Australia provide list of available gambling options that contains lottery, land-based casinos, racetracks and electronic machines like slots, or as Australians calls it – pokies. Keep in mind that online you can only bet on sports or play lotteries.

🌐 What are the new online gambling laws in Australia?

Before 2001 all types of online gambling were available in Australia. Then, the online gambling laws in Australia changed with the Interactive Act in 2001, which banned online casinos and all offshore operators in order to protect the Australian citizens from eventual malicious Ponzi schemes.

⏳ What is the history of the Australian online gambling laws?

If you read the complete Australian online gambling laws history, you will find out that Australians are gambling fans long before our modern age. Statistics show that over 80% of the adult’s population nowadays is somehow engaged with gambling. Most Australians bet on sports because online casinos are restricted.

⚙️ How is the gambling authority in Australia called?

The truth is that Australian gambling laws are federal, but all states exercise their own gambling laws. In other words, there are eight gambling authorities for each state, responsible for all the licencing and control of the sector. The federal gambling law in Australia is what unites the states under one legal jurisdiction.



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