Gambling Regulation and Laws
The Interactive Gambling Act (IGA) 2001
Implemented by the Australian Commonwealth Parliament 16 years ago, this Act aims to limit the harmful effects of gambling on the Australian community. It targets the providers of interactive gambling, not their potential or actual customers. These commandments applied to all interactive gambling services, irrespective of their location.
Natives were still afforded access to online poker rooms and casinos without fear of any legal ramifications, but it became an offence for operators to propose real-money virtual gambling to anyone within the confines of Australia.
Advertising of these services across all forms of media was also prohibited.
However, a series of ambiguities in the legislation meant that the online casino industry continued to prosper.
There was no definitive statement to prevent Australians from playing at casinos located away from their homeland, which meant that many Aussies could chance their arm by turning to the internet.
The IGA is not applicable to sports betting or lotteries, provided they are associated with a business inherent to Australia. This is because a stake or wager is placed before the event has occurred and is therefore not classified as an interactive bet.
In-play sports betting online was also forbidden as it was deemed to be one of the greatest temptations for problem gamblers, but those wanting to find a means to wager on the winner of a football match during the action would find a way to do it.
It was these inadequacies within the Act that made it ineffective according to Liberal Democrats senator David Leyonhjelm. He told the Huffington Post, “The original 2001 law was meant to stop online gambling of many kinds, but it didn’t, there was a loophole.”
Despite these loopholes, this decree stood the test of the time with its biggest threat being only a series of recommendations following a review in 2011.
It took until 2016 when Alan Tudge was appointed as the Minister of Human Services in 2016 for any major amendments to be sanctioned as highlighted below in the Interactive Gambling Bill.
The Interactive Gambling Bill Of 2016
This amendment came into full legal effect just two months ago after being passed through the Australian parliament and these modifications have been implemented to colour over the ‘grey area’ that tainted the IGA.
These alterations have severe implications for offshore online casinos and offshore online poker sites as they can no longer accept or service Australian players unless they receive a licence from Aus. It effectively bans all online gambling except for sports betting.
Since there are no stipulations in place for awarding a license, the law is more of an outright ban on such operators and therefore online roulette and any other form of online casino play is technically banned in Australia.
Many foreign-run casinos and overseas operators have already felt the effects of the new Interactive Gambling Amendment Bill and exited the Australian market completely to comply with the new laws and escape the hefty punishments that would follow suit.
Major and most importantly reputable names to confirm their withdrawal from operations in Australia include PokerStars, 32Red and 888Poker.
Further Reading: Australian Gambling By Numbers