Australian Online Casinos
Australians love to gamble, and slot machines, called pokies, are everywhere. Australians gamble more than any other country in the world and have ample opportunity to do so. Australians also enjoy playing pokies and other casino games online, and there are a great many choices out there as far as sites to play them on. We’ll be your guide in navigating through all these choices and provide the expert advice you need to get the most out of your online gambling experiences.
Gambling in Australia – An Introduction
In spite of how popular casino gambling is in Australia, the country’s approach to online gambling is among the most restrictive in the world. This does not mean that Australians don’t gamble online, as you really can’t keep players from doing that as long as they have access to the internet, but the Australian government has certainly done their best to try to stop them.
The Australian approach mirrors that of the United States in important ways, except in Australia, the bills they have passed against online gambling actually prohibits online casino operators from offering play to Australians, while Americans just pretend that they have laws that do this.
We help players from all over the world, but players from Australia particularly need the sort of help that we provide on our site, to not only understand the legal environment but especially to be guided toward the right online sites given that the field has been cut so much by this legislation.
The Interactive Gambling Act of 2001
Australia didn’t waste any time passing online anti-gambling regulation once online casino gambling first hit the scene, although the Interactive Gambling Act (IGA) passed all the way back in 2001 really didn’t have any effect on Australians playing casino games online.
While the alleged basis for prohibiting online gambling in the United States, the Wire Act, was passed all the way back in 1961, and ended up only been seen by the courts as applicable to sports betting, at a time where online casino gambling was limited to science fiction, this prior fiction was very real when the IGA was passed and online casino gambling was definitely targeted in it.
The IGA clearly prohibited Australian providers from offering online gambling to both Australians and players residing in prohibited countries, although like in the U.S., gambling regulation is performed at the state level and federal regulations serve to place additional limitations upon state powers.
This law does not apply to players but instead targets operators, and there are still no laws preventing Australians from gambling wherever they please. This is a common approach with legislation where an activity is legal generally in a country, like casino gambling is in Australia, where the government has no qualms about an activity generally but wishes to control and collect taxes from the offering of the activity.
The IGA also sought to prohibit Australians from playing at online gambling sites regulated in other countries, which countries often refer to as unregulated but that only means that they are not providing the regulation themselves, although prohibitions against sites located elsewhere weren’t made that clear.
Australian laws do not apply to other countries though and the online industry as a whole ended up ignoring the provisions that the IGA sought to prohibit them. The effect of trying to regulate activities outside your country relies on intimidation, and the vague nature that the IGA addressed offshore providers was not sufficient to scare anyone and people just gambled at their favorite offshore sites unimpeded.
While there has been talk of coming up with a regulatory scheme that would license Australian online casino operations and open up the domestic market, the Australians haven’t been able to pass anything just yet, although this is something that may happen at some point down the road.
Being able to just play at the best online casino sites in the world certainly did not create a need at the time, but times have changed, and online gambling regulation in Australia has since become amended to see them use a big enough stick that many providers took heed.
The 2016 Australian Interactive Gaming Act Amendment
After 15 years of seeing the IGA be of no real effect to cause offshore online casinos to refrain from offering play to their people, the Australian Parliament amended the bill in 2016 to make the prohibitions for offshore operators much more explicit. We may think that this should not matter given that Australia has no legal power offshore, but like the U.S. UIGEA, it did have the desired effect among large providers at least.
Just like with the UIGEA, large operators respected this amendment, especially ones that are publicly traded and don’t want to tarnish their image by operating against clear law in a country like Australia. When doing this became a condition of getting licensed in jurisdictions like the U.K., which have provisions such an operator may not offer play in what they considered to be blacklisted markets, this really forced the hand of big operators who then had to choose, and chose to comply.
While Australia had been on the grey side and their legislation prior to the 2016 amendment to the IGA, this new amendment blackened it completely, and created a level of blackness that finally did serve to successfully drive away the world’s major online casino operators.
Just like we saw with the UIGEA in the United States, this drove away a lot of operators but not all of them. When you drive a business underground, and the demand for it is still there, the market will find a way to look to satisfy it, whether this be by way of the black market in the physical world or sites just ignoring laws in other countries, which is all that it takes to get around these virtual and extra-jurisdictional legal prohibitions.
Sorting Out the Remaining Online Casino Sites
Given that the famous and even some not so famous online casinos no longer accept players from Australia, players have to be particularly careful with where they choose to play. Among the sites left in the game who do not care what the laws in Australia, neither being under Australian law nor are in any markets where they would be required to turn down Australians to be able to comply with the regulations of other countries, are sites of various qualities.
Among the truly good ones are all the sketchier sites, which are at the very least of lesser quality and may actually not be that reputable, and none of these sites will care about the law in Australia either, and may not care about the law anywhere. When many of the good sites leave, the ratio of bad to good sites goes way up.
You always want to be careful where you play, and stick to sites that have shown to be both reliable and enjoyable, but you especially need to be careful when there is a higher percentage of rogue sites in the pool of casino sites available to you. We recommend the best sites to players from countries all over the world, always weeding out the bad, and this is even more important for players who live in countries that have their access restricted, such as Australia.
It is not enough for an online casino site to be trustworthy, and live up to their promises, but this is a must have, the part that we need to see with each and every site we consider, without having to look at anything else yet.
The first step though is to find sites that offer play to players in Australia, and then we look at whether or not they are safe enough and reliable enough for anyone to want to play there. After this is determined, it comes down to which sites offer the best experiences for their players, the sort of things we normally look for when we look to compare the merits of various online casino sites.
What a Top Australia Friendly Online Casino Looks Like
Aside from the obvious requirement of an online casino welcoming Australians, we look for sites that are well loved in general as our starting point. The internet doesn’t just make playing casino games easier, it also allows us to communicate with each other about our experiences at online casinos much more easily as well.
It’s at least easier to rule out the crooks these days, because when people get ripped off online or are even just disappointed with a site, they are happy to tell people all about it. Even this takes some real work to dig up and this is best left to the pros such as ourselves who are experts on the online casino scene and have the benefit of so many years of experience and knowing exactly what makes a good casino good and a bad one bad.
What we particularly need to be aware of is making sure that the casino sites we play on are good for it when we win money. There are few things more disappointing to win a lot of money at an online casino and then find out that you either cannot collect it or there is something in the fine print that has them pay the money out to you over decades.
It’s also not much fun to have your deposit money connected to a bonus offer with qualifying rules beyond what you can achieve reasonably, and then become disappointed and want to take your money out of a site, only to be told you can’t. A lot of players angrily play down their funds, lose it to the casino in other words, because they have no other choice.
When we need help, we want to get it promptly and efficiently. Some sites take a long time to get back to you or may not even respond to your requests, and when they do, their answers and level of concern may be disappointing. If we’re going to play at a place, the least we should expect is that we are treated as if our business is valued, and especially not treated in a way that is second class or worse.
What we really need to see instead is an honest and friendly online casino that has a great reputation of taking care of their players the right way. We also want to have access to the best games out there, because this is all about our entertainment and we want to have as much fun as we can, and a big part of this is playing games that are just more fun.
We want these sites to also work with us whenever problems arise, which starts well before the first point of contact and involves such things as ease of signup, being able to deposit and withdraw with the options that we prefer, which does particularly require care and attention on the part of the casinos in countries that have restricted markets such as Australia. In fact, we want as much of the good stuff that we can pack in without any of the problems.
This is not too much to ask as it turns out, and we always do our best to provide you with the best advice that we can about where to play, because that’s what we do.
Australian Casinos FAQ
- Aren’t online casinos prohibited by Australian law from offering play to Australians?
The Australian government only has the power to command those within their borders. What happens in other countries is beyond their purview, and even though they have pounded their shoes loud enough to be heard outside the country, this is all this amounts to. Many casinos have voluntarily withdrawn from the Australian online casino market, but this is completely voluntarily as offering play to people in other countries is legal where these sites reside.
- Why can’t Australian law prevent offshore casinos from allowing Australians?
The best way to understand how Australian regulations applies to offshore online casinos is to think of this as their trying to stop a casino in Las Vegas from letting Australian tourists play with them. If someone told them that Australian law doesn’t allow this, they would look at you funny and tell you that you aren’t in Australia. Playing online casino games hosted in another country is like visiting that country and playing there, where it is legal, and if they let you play there, you can.
- Is it against any law for Australians to play casino games online?
Some countries make it illegal to gamble at an online casino, like France for instance, and France even goes as far as to have internet providers there block online casino sites. Even this doesn’t stop anyone who wants to do this as they just access the sites though a VPN. None of this is needed in Australia, because there is no law against playing on online casinos if you live there. All the laws are directed at operators, although only operators in Australia are under these laws.
- Is there a decent number of deposit and withdraw options at Australia friendly casinos?
Unlike in the United States, whose anti gaming laws go after payment processors, which has caused most of the usual payment methods to flee the market, Australia’s laws go after operators. While Australian players may not have the number of deposit and withdrawal options that people in some countries do, especially those that have domestically regulated online casino gambling, there are still several good options that are available.
- Can online casino sites that allow Australians be trusted?
There are always going to be online casinos out there that simply cannot be trusted because they don’t deserve it. Very few online casino sites behave criminally, although there are plenty that just don’t live up to what they are supposed to be doing, making us happy and keen to keep playing with them. Some do a great job of all of this though, but you need to be able to tell the difference between the great and the not so good. We’re here to help you with this.
- How Does the 2016 amendment to Australia’s online gambling regulations change things?
The original regulations passed by the Australian Parliament in 2001, the Interactive Gambling Act, was designed primarily to prevent providers located in Australia from offering online gambling. While it was implied that this applied to operators in other countries, this was not made explicit enough. The 2016 amendment makes this very explicit, although following the laws of a foreign country is never required nor can be enforced.
- Why did so many online casinos pull out of Australia after the 2016 amendment?
Even though Australian law itself holds no power in other countries, and offshore online casinos are all located abroad, what this law accomplished is to clarify whether or not Australia is what we call blacklisted. Publicly traded companies will often subscribe to higher standards than the law requires, and this is one case of that. The biggest reason though is that in order to offer play to people in the U.K., your license restricts your taking players from blacklisted countries.
- With some of these big and popular sites gone, is it still worth playing casino games online?
What has really changed in Australia since this new law was passed is that it has become even more important for players to do their due diligence. While there are some sites that accept Australians that no Australian or anyone else should ever want to play at, there are also plenty of good ones that are right up there with the best online sites period, including the ones that Australians can’t play at anymore. Our standards need to remain high, which the good sites maintain.
- Are there any good online casino bonuses and rewards that Australians are eligible for?
With the sites that actually do their very best for their players, which only makes sense since their long-term success relies so much on this, you can bet that they are going to want to take care of these players whether they are located in Australia or are from any other country. Our money spends the same regardless of where we are from and there are plenty of nice bonuses and rewards that Australians can take advantage of as well.
- Can you play the best slots and other games at Australia friendly online casinos?
All the good sites these days offer the latest and greatest games, which is one of the reasons why they are good sites. No one wants to play pokies that may remind you of your earlier gambling years, or some lame rendition that reminds you of the earlier days of computing. Our recommended sites offer the highest quality games and other amenities to ensure that you will be happy with deciding to give them a try.