When it comes to taking a flutter, we all have our favorite games. Whether you prefer table games such as Roulette or Black Jack or are more of a dab hand at the pokies, there’s something for everyone on the wealth of online casino portals available today. What’s more, unlike traditional-land-based casinos, their online counterparts have the added advantage of being accessible from almost anywhere in the world – including down under.
On the flip side, however, the approach to gambling is different in almost every country in the world, so it’s important for gamblers to familiarize themselves with the laws of the land no matter which game they choose to place their bets on. While some countries are very liberal when it comes to gambling, others are incredibly stringent. For instance, playing pokies for fun or real money is all well and good, but as an Aussie, you probably already know that restrictions and regulations down under are rather strict. Failing to follow them can lead to rather serious repercussions.
In this article, we’ll take a deep dive into the legalities of playing pokies in this jurisdiction so you know where you stand when playing your favorite game and can comply with the rules to stay out of trouble.
Australia’s Paternalistic Approach To Gambling
Generally speaking, Australia adopts a very paternalistic approach to the regulation of gambling services on both the federal and state level. The motivation behind this approach is to thwart concerns arising from the adverse social impacts of gambling on individuals, families and communities.
Although there’s a general prohibition on the conduct and promotion of gambling across Australia, legislation exemptions exist for gambling activities that are carried out under a license. Activities that can be exempt if the operator obtains the correct license include everything from lotteries and sports betting to the electronic gaming machine and pokies at venues and land-based casinos.
The Rules For Online Pokies
Gambling has a long history as a popular pastime in Australia. However, the advent of online gaming disrupted Australia’s gambling industry and complicated the landscape quite markedly.
As it stands, all forms of online casino gaming, including “pokies” and table games such as baccarat, craps and roulette, are prohibited in Australia under the Interactive Gambling Act (IGA) 2001 which means that casino operators are not permitted to offer such banned services.
The law applies to all online casinos operating within Australia or offering services to the Aussie gambling market. So offshore gambling operators who engage in offering online pokies to Australian punters are committing an offence and face hefty fines. With that being said, the gambling law in Australia is specifically targeting the companies which offer these online services rather than players who engage in these practices.
The Implications For Pokie Aficionados
Despite the implementation of the IGA (2001) led to many offshore casino operators withdrawing their services from the Australian market to comply with the law and avoid fines, there are still opportunities for pokie fans to get their fix from within Australia.
Although the options may be somewhat limited, people in Australia who still want to play pokies online can find ways to do so without having to search too hard. You’ll find that there are many foreign-owned online casinos that still choose to offer their services to Aussie players, thereby ignoring the dangers of being fined.
If you’re intent on getting your pokie fix, there are a few key points worth bearing in mind. Firstly, the reason why most reputable casino brands have withdrawn their services from the Aussie market is because they value their reputation and can’t risk being in trouble with the law. Therefore, the companies that remain tend to be less established and have a small player base.
Generally speaking, if you choose to engage with foreign casino operators, you should prioritize finding one that carries a license from an established gambling authority such as the UK Gambling Commission or the Malta Gambling Authority. The license is proof that the operator is adhering to certain guidelines on responsible gambling as well as customer safety and transparency.
Australian players who engage with an unlicensed casino risk being exposed to poor service standards and criminal activities. The fact is, if a licensed online casino breaks the rules or misleads players, they can be reported to their relevant gambling regulator. Gambling regulators exist to encourage casino operators to change their behavior based on customer feedback, and those that repeatedly contravene standards can lose their license.
Wrapping Things Up
Gambling laws in Australia are a complex affair. Although land-based gambling activities are allowed in Australia, online gambling, including online pokies, is not. That being said, Aussies can still access offshore casino portals that provide pokies without the risk of fines or criminal charges.
The main risk of using offshore gambling providers is engaging with an unlicensed casino that may have a questionable reputation. By choosing a licensed casino operator, you can limit the risks of losing your casino funds and have some degree of protection by having the option to appeal to a licensing body if your experience is poor.