Is gambling against the law in Australia?

Gambling is illegal in all Australian jurisdictions. With a licence, gambling activities are exempt from the law.

Among them are:

  1. Lotteries (both in-person and online)
  2. Slot machines ('pokies') (only in-person)
  3. Sports betting and wagering (both in-person and online)
  4. Land-based casinos featuring games including poker, baccarat, and blackjack

Gamblers have long been a part of Australian society, closely connected to racing and sports. The growth of state and territorial gambling regulation in the early twentieth century. Because of online gambling, the business grew steadily in the late 20th century despite the continuing battle between government, regional, and sports and competition governments.

Australian Gambling Licences

Lottery and totalisator operators were formerly state-owned. Almost all states and territories (excluding Western Australia) have corporatised and privatised their gaming operations. All major gaming companies in Australia (several mentioned) operate under state or territory government licences (or regulator).

However, it is widely accepted that gaming services supplied under a licence granted in any Australian state or territory may be provided to citizens of other Australian states or territories. The High Court of Australia reaffirmed this in their case of Betfair Pty Ltd and others v Western Australia (2008) 244 ALR 32.

In general, licenced operators may provide remote or online gambling services, and there is no difference between online platforms or devices.

Gambling Operators in Australia

Online gambling licences issued to Australian operators frequently limit the area and manner in which the licensed operator may operate its gaming business. For example, NTRC-licensed gaming businesses must have parts of their activities in the Northern Territory. For the purposes of the licensing, bets are considered to be made, received, and accepted in the Northern Territory, regardless of where the client making the bet is situated.

Aside from that, neither federal nor state and territorial gaming laws allow cryptocurrency payments for online gambling companies. No approved online betting businesses are allowed to accept bitcoin as payment for bets.

Sources:

  1. The Australian Institute for Gambling Research has info sheets, news, connections, and a regulatory review. The Institute is based at UWS.
  2. The Parliament of Australia has a comprehensive website on interactive gaming with links and papers.

All gaming, racing, and betting activities are regulated by the ACT Racing and Gambling Commission. On the site you'll find information on the gaming industry's code of conduct, the casino and other betting alternatives.

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