Australia Online Gambling Law

Online gambling laws in Australia are simple from the
player’s point of view. Simply put, there are no laws regarding
your ability to place bets online. There’s nothing in the
criminal code that addresses the mere act of gambling, playing
poker, or betting on sports.

The biggest thing for Australian gamblers to worry about is
finding a safe place to play. There are dozens of sites that
accept Aussies and AUD deposits, but we always recommend that you
do a little research and stick with the biggest brands in the
industry. Here are a few that we recommend:

Rules for Operators

Operators (those who run gambling sites) exist in a more
complex legal environment. Australia passed the

Interactive Gambling Act
(IGA) in 2001, and that piece of
legislation included a long list of requirements for operators
based in the country. It can all be quite confusing as there are
a lot of rules and exceptions to those rules in certain

The IGA made it illegal for local and offshore online
operators to offer most forms of gambling to Australians. The
biggest exception was sports and racing betting, which is
allowed as long as all bets are closed before the start of any
match or race. There are a number of big-name operators based
out of Australia that specialize in online sports betting for

However, sites based in Australia may offer other gambling
games to non-Australians across the rest of the world. However
(again), there’s a list of designated countries that cannot be
marketed to if those countries have similar legislation in place
blocking Australians from using their services.

Australian citizens have no responsibility to adhere to the
rules and provisions set forth by the IGA. It’s the sole
responsibility of the operators to ensure they block Australians
from accessing any forms of gambling other than sports betting.
What this all means is if you’re an Australian punter who
doesn’t own a gambling site, you don’t need to bog yourself down
with all the legalities of trying to figure out which sites are
legal and which are not. Just pick a site that’s safe and
everything else will handle itself.

Offshore Gambling Sites

The text of the IGA states that it extends to matters outside
Australia with the following language:

Unless the contrary intention appears, this
Act extends to acts, omissions, matters, and things outside

It’s clear that the act prohibits offshore gambling sites
from taking customers in Australia, but the legislation has no
teeth. Dozens of sites openly accept Australians to this day
without consequence. Although certain politicians occasionally
make noise about cracking down on internet gambling in
Australia, it appears there’s little mainstream interest in
actually taking action.

You could contrast the situation in Australia with that in
United States
by looking at the Unlawful Internet Gambling
Enforcement Act (UIGEA) passed in the US in 2006. Like
Australia, the US had longstanding laws against online gambling,
but little means for enforcing them until the UIGEA was passed.

In the United States, the UIGEA targeted the banking industry
and made it illegal for financial institutions to knowingly
process transactions to or from internet gambling sites. This
went a long ways in curbing online gambling in the US by making
it difficult for players to fund their accounts and receive
payments. Australia, on the other hand, has no such provisions,
and it’s significantly easier for Aussies to deposit to and
withdraw from offshore operators.

In-Play Betting is Prohibited

In-play betting is a form of sports betting in which you can
place short-term bets during the course of an event. An example
of in-play wagering would be watching a rugby game on live TV
and placing a couple of short-term wagers after the game has
already begun.

The IGA prohibits online sportsbooks based in Australia from
offering these types of bets, but you can still get your fix at
any offshore sportsbook. Sites based elsewhere aren’t beholden
to the whims of the IGA and offer a whole range of options to
Australian customers.