More and more Australians are turning to the Internet for a flutter.
According to statistics, around 80% of Australians are partial to some form of gaming.
Australia is growing rapidly alongside greater internet connection speeds and a greater amount of services being offered by both domestic firms in Australia and internationally.
The major law that regulates operations on the territory of Australia is currently the Interactive Gambling Act. The legislation was designed to protect the general public from the adverse effects of online gambling and was officially passed in 2001 by the Australian Commonwealth Parliament.
The law was designed to target online “gambling operators”, which were (and still are) sprouting at rapid rates given the amount of demand for services by Australian consumers. The 2001 law made it illegal to offer prohibited interactive gambling products to anyone in Australia, to offer unlicensed iGaming products to Australian customers and to offer Australian-based iGaming products to other countries.
This law prohibits the majority of online gambling ranging from pokies to roulette, blackjack, and online poker. Various other varieties were left unchecked such as auto racing and sports betting – assuming the events were not live and customers could not bet “in-game”. In other words, place bets when the underlying event was still active in order to reduce the allure of live gambling and potentially increasing rates of gambling addiction.
Any operator offering services to Australia or from Australia is subject to steep penalties ranging from $220,000 per day for individuals operating the iGaming company to $1.1 million per day for the company itself.
The sword of Australia
The Interactive Gambling Act of 2001 is the main law that is targeted at operations in Australia, and more specifically, at web-based gambling activities and providers.
There is no single over-arching set of laws that regulate online gambling in Australia and no single gaming authority. Instead, gaming is regulated at both the State/Territory and Federal levels which creates a rather scattered patchwork of legislation.
Poker is also one of the games that are highly popular among Australian casino players. The popularity of the game has grown very quickly because of the game’s cultural popularity and the potentially astronomic pay-outs.
Several people have even turned into professional online poker players around the world, but regardless of how preferred online poker is in Australia, operating interactive poker websites remains illegal throughout Australia. Australians can engage with foreign online poker providers but this is considered ill-advised by Australian authorities with lacklustre consumer protection being offered to punters.
Online gambling poses both high risks but can also offer high rewards, which makes the job of the consumer all the more perilous. As the number of ways to gamble continues to grow while the technical capabilities of computers and phones also improving – online gambling Aus has become a rowdy jungle with consumers left holding a double-edged sword.