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For Australians looking to engage in some recreational gambling, understanding the laws that apply to the industry is essential. This comprehensive guide to gambling laws in Australia will provide an overview of the regulations, restrictions, and exemptions that apply to different types of gambling activities.
Whether you’re looking to play the pokies at your local pub, enter the lottery, or visit a casino, this guide will help you understand what’s legal and what isn’t. We’ll also look at the role of the Australian Gambling Research Centre and the National Gambling Helpline, as well as the different types of gambling that are allowed in each state and territory.
Overview of Australia’s gambling laws
Before we get into specifics, it’s important to get a general overview of the laws that apply to Australia’s gambling industry. These laws are designed to ensure that gambling remains a safe, fair, and responsible activity. While there are some restrictions in place, it’s important to note that gambling is generally permitted in Australia.
The laws that apply are meant to protect citizens from harmful gambling-related activities while also respecting people’s right to engage in recreational gambling. There are four different types of gambling in Australia:
- Poker machines
- Casino games
- Sports betting
Each of these types of gambling is subject to different laws and regulations. The first thing to note is that online gambling is regulated differently than gambling in person. We’ll get into the specific regulations for each type of gambling below.
Role of the Australian Gambling Research Centre and National Gambling Helpline
The Australian Gambling Research Centre is the government authority responsible for producing research and statistics related to the gambling industry in the country. The AGRC also provides information, training, and advice to gambling businesses and regulatory bodies. Most importantly, the AGRC operates the National Gambling Helpline.
National Gambling Helpline is a 24/7 support service that anyone experiencing problems related to gambling can call. Operators are trained to provide support, information, and referrals to people dealing with a gambling problem in Australia. Also, the helpline provides information about the different treatment options and support services available for people looking to address their gambling issues.
Gambling allowed in each state and territory
Some of the general gambling laws we discussed above apply to all states in Australia. But each state and territory also have its own specific gambling laws. These gambling laws apply only to gambling activity in that particular jurisdiction.
Australian Capital Territory (ACT) is the only state or territory in Australia where all forms of gambling are legal. In fact, the ACT is home to the only legal, land-based casino in the country! New South Wales Poker machines and casino games are legal in NSW.
Lotteries, sports betting, and keno are also permitted in some specific circumstances. But lottery prizes are capped at $50,000, and jackpots are limited to $750,000.
Legal age requirements for gambling
One of the most important gambling laws in Australia is related to age requirements. You must be at least 18 years old to gamble in Australia. This is true no matter what form of gambling you engage in or where you do it.
Gambling taxes in Australia
The Australian government collects taxes on revenue from both land-based and online forms of gambling. But the amount of taxes each type of gambling generates varies widely. Online gambling generates the most revenue and therefore generates the most taxes.
In the fiscal year 2018, the government received more than $1 billion in taxes from online gambling. Meanwhile, land-based gambling activities generated just $410 million in taxes that same year.
Responsible gambling initiatives
The government of Australia has implemented several initiatives aimed at promoting responsible gambling. First, the government publishes a list of harmful gambling practices, like problem gambling or underage gambling, that are not permitted. Second, the government encourages gambling operators to implement responsible gambling measures.
These include providing free self-exclusion schemes and providing tools, like gambling planning and budgeting tools, to help customers manage their gambling habits. Finally, the government encourages operators to offer responsible gambling messages, like information about problem gambling and helpline numbers, to customers who are gambling.
Restrictions on online gambling
Online gambling is regulated differently than gambling in person. Many of the gambling laws listed above don’t apply to online gambling. For example, the legal age requirement for online gambling is 18, regardless of the country the individual resides in.
This is because online gambling involves using a computer, which is a device that anyone, regardless of age, can access. It’s different from gambling in person where other gambling laws apply to different people, depending on their location and age.
But some gambling laws do apply to online gambling. For example, online gambling is subject to taxes, as we saw above. It’s also subject to restrictions on harmful gambling practices like underage gambling, problem gambling, and gambling offered by unlicensed operators.
No verification casinos for Australian players
Most online casinos have a strict verification process that players must adhere to so that they can have their identity confirmed. There are Australian no verification casinos that welcome players from Australia where there is no verification process and you can play immediately after registering and collect your winnings.