Australians love pokies; there's no doubt about that. With 80% of the country having gambled at least once in their lives, no nation spends as much money in gambling as Australia. The government is undoubtedly happy with the revenue it gets from online wagering, but it has multiple measures meant to regulate the industry.
The Interactive Gambling Act in 2001 is Australia’s official regulator of online gaming. But what exactly does it regulate? Below is an overview of how the country’s approached online gambling before 2001 and the responsibilities transferred to the Gambling Act later on.
The Northern Territory Gaming Control
Before 2001, Australia didn't have laws that governed online gambling. Local governments interested in legalizing the sector did so without the interference of the Commonwealth government. The Northern Territory, for example, regulated both brick and mortar casinos and remote gaming sites since 1993.
The first online casino, however, didn't launch until 1999. Named Lasseters Online Casino, the company began efforts to launch a gaming website in 1997. After two years of development, the platform went alive.
Although the casino accepted players from 92 countries, it only permitted Australians located in the Northern Territory. This was to fulfill its agreement with its regulator. Nonetheless, the company had 3000 paying customers.
The Interactive Gambling Act (2001)
In 2001, the commonwealth parliament voted to abolish online casinos and all their services. That meant there would be no more online bingo, poker, slots or table games offered on Australia-based gambling sites.
There was one exception, though. The law grandfathered Lasseters casino. While all other online casinos were banned, Lasseters was allowed to continue providing all casino games, including those prohibited by the IGA.
Lasseters continued with its operations until 2008 when it closed down. Surprised? The company relied on the US market excessively. So, when the US made a law in 2006 to abolish online gambling, the casino’s primary customer base was shut down.
The IGA doesn’t affect Players
The IGA may have shuttered the dreams of multiple online casinos, but it doesn’t criminalize Aussies when they gamble online. Whether you play poker at a New Zealand online casino or relish slots at a Malta-licensed website, authorities won’t come after you.
Unsurprisingly, thousands of Aussies spend millions of dollars playing pokies and other games in foreign gambling sites. Some of the casinos offer exclusive bonuses to Australians so that you have $100 or more to spend on your favorite games.
The best Australian online casinos do more than lure players with generous bonuses. They accept payments using local banking options. They process your wins fast and provide unrelenting customer support 24/7.
Of course, all casinos promise stellar services. But there are companies with a reputation for providing exemplary services in all departments. Likewise, some platforms are only interested in the players' money. They will accept your deposit and give you access to all their games. But the moment you win, they come up with multiple excuses not to process your payment.
Who Protects Australians from Fraud Casinos?
Now that the IGA banned online casinos but still allows Aussies to gamble in foreign casino sites, does it protect them when defrauded? No, that hardly happens. If you join an overseas gaming platform that later scams you, the Australian government will offer little help.
That calls for you to do due diligence about each casino you think of joining. There is a criterion for finding genuine foreign casinos. Alternatively, you could stick to the four bookmakers allowed to provide betting services in the country. The four bookies are:
Central bet and
The four websites are strictly bookie sites and don't offer pokies and table games. For online casino services, experts suggest you use the following tips to evaluate casinos.
Check for Trusted Licenses
The UK, Malta, and Gibraltar all provide respected licenses to casino sites. Alderney, Costa Rica and Curacao also license remote gaming sites. The presence of a regulator confirms you're dealing with a legally operating company. And if the license comes from the UK, Gibraltar or Malta, you know the casino will be held accountable if it defrauds customers.
Accepts Australian Players
Don’t assume a casino accept Aussie players just because it allows New Zealanders. Some companies don’t permit Australians on their platforms. Others allow you to create an account on their platforms but won’t accept your deposits or withdrawals.
Before you join a gaming site, confirm it allows Australians to create accounts, deposit money, and play games. Keep in mind some platforms don't allow Aussies from the Northern Territory because of the state's strict remote gambling laws.
Games and Software Providers
More than a dozen top tier software providers supply their games to Australia-friendly casinos. Companies like BetSoft, IGT, Evolution Gaming, Play’n GO and Quickspin all supply pokies, roulette, blackjack and scratch card games to Australian online casinos.
Unfortunately, a handful of game developers don’t offer their services to all Australians. NetEnt, which makes games like Gonzo’s Quest and Starburst; operate with some but not all casinos. The same case applies to Microgaming and Playtech. If you have favorite software providers and games, ensure they’re offered in a casino before you join it.
Most casinos allow deposits using credit cards and bank transfers. But it's crucial to ascertain a casino enables bank payments to from your favorite Australian bank because not all of them do. For e-wallet payments, casinos vary on what options they accept. The best companies accept world-famous options like PayPal, Skrill, and Neteller and also allow Qiwi and other local options.
Bonuses enable you to keep playing pokies even when your bankroll is depleted. They can also maximize your profits and minimize your losses. Rewards come in all sizes but are also tied to playthrough terms. For example, you may have to wager your bonus wins 20 times before you can withdraw any wins therein.
The Interactive Gambling Act of 2001 may have prohibited the licensing of new online casinos, but it didn’t stop Aussies from gambling online. If you’ve ever wanted to play casinos, use the tips shared above to find a trustworthy casino.