The question above seems like the one that has a simple yes/no answer (and it actually does). In reality, however, everyone from opposite sides of any confrontation owns their truth.
Aussies and gambling have a very special relationship, and nobody denies it. In their own words, Australians are ready to ‘bet on two flies on the wall’, just give them a chance. They proudly claim to have deserved the title of the most gambling nation, and the whole world agrees. More than 80% of the adult population regularly engage in recreational gambling, with approximately 1% of all Aussies developing addictive behavioural patterns and 2% – risking following them.
Nonetheless, the Australian authorities approve of some gambling activities. You won’t break any laws playing Blackjack or Poker at home with friends. And if you resist the temptation to move the party to any public place – a bar, a hotel lobby, or a club – you will stay within the bounds of law.
The Australian Government has no problem with the citizens betting on sports, horse, and dog racing (the only restriction here is in-play bets: they are not permitted). Australians can do it online or at a betting parlour, as long as they deal with a legal gambling provider. There is a list of legit bookmakers online: Aussie gamblers can always address it to check the operator’s license information.
On top of all that, depending on the State, Australians can gamble for real money at land-based casinos, play lotteries and Bingo, and spin their favourite slot reels at offline pokie venues.
Aussies and gambling go way back. The love affair started at the end of the 18th century, as soon as the colonial settlements appeared on the continent. The first official gambling entertainment in the country was horse racing; it triggered the beginning of the bookmaking industry. Then lotteries came: their story originated in Sydney in the 1880s. Sports betting was an unlawful activity until 1980. Pokie venues and casinos were the last to arrive in Australia – they reached the Land Down Under in the 1990s.
In comparison to the rest of the world, the Australian Government has always been tolerant of gambling. Even though many things were allowed, illegal gambling providers have always existed, and their businesses – flourished.
Let’s look at the issue from the Governmental perspective here. On the one hand, the Commonwealth saw the overwhelming statistics that showed the increasing number of problem gamblers. On the other – the officials wanted to protect the citizens from illegal operators who could play dodgy games with gamblers’ money…
Anyway, we don’t know how addictive the love between Aussies and gambling would have become with the emergence of the almighty Internet, and the spread of online casinos in the early 90s, if the Australian Interactive Gambling act of 2001 hadn’t entered the scene.
Online gambling is appealing: the variety is incredible, the convenience and mobility parameters are off the charts. The online world without borders indeed. Everything is comparatively affordable and available at your fingertips, just one click away from the fun, customer-pleasing extras, and hope to win some cash. You can get all of that and even more at 777pokies.casino, for example.
And yet, according to the Interactive Gambling Act, playing online for money is the least reliable way to gamble possible. So, it prohibits providing interactive real-money services and advertising them to Australian citizens. The law refers to all organizations located inside the country and abroad. It means that online casinos are illegal in Australia.
The Interactive Gambling Act targets unregulated game providers more than gamblers. There isn’t a statement that explains what legal consequences online players will face or what rules or restrictions exist. The act only emphasizes the risks they undertake: rigged online casinos might turn gambling into a financial nightmare, but does not introduce any kind of penalizing for players.
The authorities intend to introduce some standards for online operators in the future to monitor the online gambling market and make sure that Aussies deal with licensed providers only. For the time being, it is not happening. Australians keep gambling online as they know that they are not breaking any laws, and the government is trying to control all casinos on the Internet. It all makes online gambling in Australia a big grey area, but it is what it is.
Taking into account everything we’ve said before, it’s become clear that for many people ‘illegal’ wouldn’t necessarily mean ‘unsafe’. A lot of Aussie players choose to gamble at online casinos as the law covers only the provider’s liability. We hope they understand that, in this case, a gambler has to take full responsibility for their mental health and financial risks.
To play or not to play at online casinos – the decision is yours to make. We’ll just remind you of the main responsible gambling principles.
Choose only trustworthy websites that can confirm their license.
Do a thorough online search on their reputation, customer feedback, check the blacklists compiled by the industry watchdogs. Only after that click the ‘sign-in’ button.
Stay in control of your gambling habits: don’t drink alcohol while playing, set time and money limits and never exceed them.
And, most importantly, treat gambling as entertainment and avoid turning it into money-making.