Publication date: 16 Jul 2021
Update from 4 May 2022:
- Interesting fact! Australian billionaire Winton Will has filed a lawsuit against local operator TopSports: he claimed that the company took his bets while he was under the influence of alcohol. This took place between 2016 and 2019, with bets being placed over the phone, some as high as $25,000. In his lawsuit, the entrepreneur claims that the bookmaker understood the presence of intoxication, but accepted the money anyway.
Australia’s gambling market is one of the most interesting in the world. And it’s all thanks to the locals! They are so passionate that even with the ban on online gambling in Australia they manage to spend up to 25 million dollars a year on gambling. Against this background, it is very good that the state government is beginning to think about the benefits of legalization and gradually allow online casinos and bookmakers!
Gambling regulation in Australia
Gambling appeared in Australia simultaneously with the colonizers: the first event (betting on horse races) was registered in 1880. Australia’s offline gambling segment is regulated locally. State and territory governments can issue laws to control gambling and create their own regulatory bodies. As of 2021, there are up to 14 detailed documents in each region. The tax rate and its size also depend on the region, there are taxes on net income, players’ losses, on profits from turnover. Regional budgets may consist of 10% of taxes that bring offline casinos and bookmakers. Currently, there are dozens of legal land-based casinos in Australia, they are very popular and bring good profits.
So, what’s happening online? Australia’s first online casino from Microgaming appeared in the 1990s. But it wasn’t until 2001 that a document regulating the industry was passed: Interactive Gambling Act / IGA. It contains an express prohibition on online gambling aimed at residents of Australia. However, companies based in the state, can offer their services to players from other countries. At the same time, there is no punishment for Australians themselves who want to bet or play casino games online.
In 2017, besides the basic law, additional amendments were adopted, introducing norms to block illegal casinos and bookmakers in Australia. The same law obliged all operators working in the country to obtain a license. The authority to issue online licenses was also transferred to the local level.
The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) oversees the operation of offshore casino sites. After receiving complaints and conducting an investigation, this body makes a blocking request, which is sent to the providers. The Authority acts only on the basis of citizens’ appeals, not initiating any blocking on its own. This means that the process of restricting access to casino and betting sites in Australia is quite slow. The first site requested by the ACMA was blocked in 2019, and since then about 200 sites with illegal gambling have been blocked. The ACMA website has a list of betting shops that can operate in Australia. Among them are such world-renowned brands as bet365, Betfair, PlayON, RivalBet, UBET and others. At the end of 2020, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Agency (AUSTRAC) reported that it is the responsibility of the casinos, not the regulator, to monitor transactions for potential money laundering or embezzlement. Therefore, in 2021, it is not possible in Australia:
- provide online casino services for local residents
- provide sports betting services that do not have an Australian license
- advertise gambling on the Internet.
What is legal from gambling in Australia in 2021:
- online bookmakers who are licensed in Australia
- players can bet or gamble on any site they have gained access to
- control over all payments remains with the gambling operators.
Despite the existing prohibitions, the Australian gambling market is very attractive. Experts estimate that from 2013 to 2019, the illegal mobile and online gambling market in Australia grew fourfold and reached a volume of 1.4 billion dollars. At the same time, the legal turnover of local operators in 2020 exceeded $6 billion.
How to attract players from Australia to casino and betting sites?
Australians are called the most gambling audience in the world. The country’s economy is one of the most successful in the world, the state has the sixth highest GDP per capita in the world. As of 2019, each resident spends $1,300 on a variety of gambling activities each year. That’s number one in the world! According to other data, about 70% of Australians gamble all the time, and another 10% have tried it at least once. And with a population of 25 million people, that’s quite a large audience!
Features of attracting Australian players:
- Age restrictions: under the age of 18 it is prohibited to bet, play casino games for real money or free demo versions. Before that age, games with loot boxes are available (What is Lootbox? Look up in our knowledge base).
- Players who receive winnings do not pay taxes.
- The average age of an active player is 39 years. As a rule – they are men with an annual income in the area of 100 thousand dollars.
- Popular local entertainment: betting on crab races, rabbits, camels, guinea pigs. There is even a “national holiday” – the 25th of April, when in all the pubs and clubs play in the Australian coin toss.
- The main language of the country is English, but there is a local dialect – “Australian English”.
- Mobile traffic prevails, Google, Facebook, YouTube and Instagram are popular.
The main payment methods for gambling in Australia
- Bank cards Visa and MasterCard.
- Prepaid cards UPayCard and Neosurf with the possibility of anonymous payments.
- Payment system POLi, working only in Australia and New Zealand. If a player wants to make a deposit, he simply selects the bank’s website and pays through his bank profile.
- BPay system, also available only in Australia and New Zealand, with the ability to transfer only a few dollars.
- Cryptocurrencies, which are accepted and withdrawn by almost all gambling operators.
What awaits online gambling in Australia?
The history of gambling in Australia is more than 300 years old. Land-based casinos have been operating for a long time and steadily bring revenues to business and the budget, dozens of detailed laws have been developed. But the online segment is rather underdeveloped: although the first law was passed 20 years ago, the real regulation began only in 2019. However, an interesting positive trend is already noticeable: if at the beginning of the 21st century there was a total ban on any online casinos and betting offices in Australia on the Internet, now there is already licensing and the possibility of legal operation for some companies. Given the achievements of the land-based sector, let’s hope that the Australian authorities will soon come to the understanding: it is difficult and unprofitable to ban gambling, and regulation is the way to money and balance of interests!