Gambling has long been a leisure activity in Australia. Players from across the country go to casinos and gaming clubs as a regular form of entertainment. Over the years, however, a shift has been taking place, seeing more and more Australians playing at online casinos instead. As such, the country’s gambling laws should reflect the changing nature of the digital gambling world, but that is not the case just yet.
According to the Interactive Gambling Act of 2003, online gambling operators are not permitted to offer their services to Australian residents. Players, on the other hand, are not regulated by these laws. They are allowed to gamble at online casinos in offshore locations without facing any fines or penalties.
If operators are caught targeting Australian players, they face fines worth up to $1 million. However, few operators have been discovered and none have yet to pay penalties to the Australian government. So, many offshore operators continue to offer their services to residents; they are just very discreet about it.
The only company that is allowed to offer its services to Australian residents in the online gambling world is TabCorp. This company is an online sportsbetting service, offering players the ability to wager on sporting events using their computers. TabCorp allows for a wide range of sportsbetting opportunities; however, in-game betting is not allowed by the Australian government.
Over the years, TabCorp has seen a handsome profit from its online operators. In 2011, the company hit its $1 billion mark. This means that players from across Australia have spent, in total, $1 billion wager on sports using TabCorp’s online service.
Although only one operator is allowed to offer online gambling in Australia, this has not stopped players from gambling at offshore websites. A recent study by Southern Cross University has revealed that over half of Australians have likely gambling online in the past 6 years. The results of this shift are just beginning to show, as poker machine profits have fallen by $5 billion over the course of the past year.
As such, it is becoming important that the Australian government begin considering the idea of legalizing online gambling. The Interactive Gambling Act seems to be quite outdated, as many countries around the world are now looking into regulating and legalizing online casinos. It presents the government with an additional form of revenue and the opportunity to protect players in the online gambling world.
The Interactive Gambling Act is currently under review, but there is no word yet on whether or not online gambling will be legalized. However, submission topics for the review included regulation and licensing policies.