The laws surrounding real money online gambling and online pokies betting within Australia are somewhat murky, so it is fair enough that many keen Aussie punters are concerned when it comes to what they may or may not be permitted to access, according to government regulations, on the Internet.
Before we address wherein lies the confusion, we want to me it crystal clear that for Australian residents, it is 100 per cent legal to access and utilise the real money gaming services provided by online casino and pokies operators, so long as you are over the age of 18 years.
That doesn’t mean to jump right in and gamble online at any site you see fit – it is imperative to make sure the site or sites you place real money wagers with are reputable, licensed and regulated. At PokiesSite.com, we have made the arduous task of searching through the hundreds of gaming operators a tad easier, and can recommend registered and trustworthy companies which we have tested ourselves, and with their managers whom we speak with on a regular basis.
The below listed casino/pokies websites are registered within their jurisdictions, license by the official gaming authorities within those jurisdictions, and audited and regulated on a constant basis by third party testing agencies which ensure player and gaming fairness, and responsible operator conduct.
These companies deal with the Australian dollar, and once you have become a registered member (which involves a two minute, cost free, sign up process), you can securely deposit AUD currency via one of the several trusted banking methods such as credit/debit card, e-wallet, pre-paid card or voucher, and direct wire transfer. All financial transactions are protected with the latest and most advanced Secure Socket Layer digital encryption technology.
All boast hundreds upon hundreds of innovative and immersive pokies which have been designed by some of the most respected gaming software providers across the globe, including Microgaming, Net Entertainment, BetSoft, Rival Gaming, NextGen and NYX Gaming, Playtech, Thunderkick and more.
So if it is completely lawful for Australian citizens to access and use the gaming services of the above online and mobile operators, what’s all the fuss about?
The Interactive Gambling Act of 2001
The Interactive Gambling Act (IGA) of 2001 was introduced by the then Howard-Government with a purpose to protect the Australian public from any damaging and harmful effects of online gambling. However, there was ample leniency within the Act, with online sports betting and online lotteries remaining completely legal via licensed operators.
So what does the IGA prohibit?
The IGA makes it illegal for any gambling operators to offer or advertise real money online interactive gaming services to citizens of Australia. This includes, but is not limited to: casino game such as pokies, blackjack, roulette, baccarat, video poker, keno, bingo, instant win scratch cards, live dealer games and live sports betting.
With online pokies falling into the category of ‘interactive’ services, it is technically illegal for the above listed operators to provide to their strong Australian customer base the entertaining real money games currently available.
However, this is where the water becomes murky.
All the pokies casino sites we endorse are located offshore – that is, outside Australian borders, in jurisdictions where online gambling is permitted. Never has there been a serious attempt by the Australian government to prosecute these foreign companies for ‘technically’ breaching the IGA guidelines. And remember, individuals accessing the pokies titles, or other services, are not doing anything wrong, and cannot be punished for playing real cash games.
Thus, these genuine, honest and well-respected interactive gaming operators see no issues with continuing to serve the Australian public who enjoy playing high quality AUD slots and casino cash games from the convenience of their desktop, smartphone and tablet platforms.
Interestingly, gaming companies based in Australia are permitted to offer their interactive gambling services to residents located outside Australian borders.
Our take on Aussie pokies laws
What should and should not be considered ‘interactive’? Personally, we believe the word is a distraction. Online sports gambling is a legal business practice allowed to be served to Australia consumers, as is the online lottery betting business. But when it comes to slots, blackjack, roulette and poker games?
Why draw the line there?
It seems to make a heap more sense to regulate and tax all forms of Internet gambling, so Australian citizens can wager with local companies within a protected and monitored environment. Just like home-owned sports bookmakers are made to adhere to strict operator regulations, so too should onshore online pokies and casino organisations be kept to the same standards.
What do you think? Does it affect you, or are you happy to keep (or start) playing with the established and credible foreign operators who do great jobs in providing a safe and fun gaming environment for all their customers?