At Legal Pokies we are devoted to gambling, and to pokies in particular. These machines have dominated clubs, pubs, restaurants and casinos across the country for many years now, and thanks to the online age, they are bigger, more popular and more widespread than they have ever been. Our goal is to provide information, advice and reviews on legitimate Australian pokies, appointing ourselves as the warden and the curator of these great machines, with the goal of becoming the leading source on pokies in Australia.
Are Online Pokies Legal in Australia?
It’s questions like this that instigated the creation of Legal Pokies – Legitimate Australian Pokies. Gambling is a strange beast, it’s one of those things that can be widespread and popular, yet not altogether legal at the same time. You only need to look at the US gambling laws and the inconsistency surrounding these to understand that. In Australia there are a lot of people who are unfamiliar with this law, and not without reason.
The government has cut back on gambling in this country, and over the years they have made several aspects of online and offline gambling illegal, only to overturn those laws at a later date. The good thing is that those laws have pretty much settled down now and as things stand, online pokies, and much of online gambling itself, is legal in Australia. Of course, nothing is ever that cut and dry and there are exceptions:
- Casinos in Australia: Online casinos are not allowed to operate from within Australia. There are gambling companies that operate here and provide services both online and offline, but they do so under the strict guidelines provided by the Interactive Gambling Act of 2001, and this pretty much rules out all forms of online pokies.
- Advertising in Australia: Gambling sites and services can not advertise their services within Australia, and they can face very heavy penalties if they do.
- Territorial Differences: Not all states are the same and there are different laws governing these. In New South Wales you will find a state that has the second most pokies in the world, with only Nevada ahead of it. But you will struggle to find any outside of of the Crown Perth casino in Western Australia, where gambling is more tightly regulated.
As complicated as these laws and these differences seem at first, the simple fact is that there are no such laws governing out-of-country online gambling, and providing you are gambling on a site that is based outside of Australia, then you will be okay to play everything from online pokies to online poker and more. You only need to look at the world’s biggest gambling sites to understand this. BetFair, for instance, is the world’s largest betting exchange and takes more sports bets than any other website. And on BetFair, there is a large number of Australia members, all placing bets legally. The same goes for poker sites like Pokerstars and for large, established online casinos like Spin Palace. For further information on this you can check out our extended blog post on the legality of online casinos in Australia.
How to Play Online Pokies
So, now that we have established legality, how should you take your first steps?
The first thing you should do is find a casino that offers a big bonus to tempt you in. Most casinos do this, and they usually have several bonuses on the go at the same time. You will struggle to find these on the casino site itself, but if you search review sites and content sites like this one, then you will find affiliate links with details of promotions. These include new member bonuses, free spin bonuses and more. Just make sure you do your research first, otherwise you could be missing out.
If you gamble regularly, you should also look for loyalty schemes. These are fairly rare in modern online casinos, but some of the bigger and more popular ones like Spin Palace still offer them.
The next step is to get money into your account. There are usually many ways to do this, from credit cards and debit cards, to POLi, PayPal and more. If you have signed up to a bonus then you will be given a play-through rate, which basically means that you need to risk the money in your account a certain number of times before you can withdraw. You should also note that many of the deposit options may not be available as withdrawal options, as few casinos let you withdraw to credit cards and many of them don’t offer a great variety of web wallets.
Types of Pokies
There are several types of online pokies, often more than you can find in actual casinos. These all have their own pros and cons, and taste, risk and budget will dictate which one you prefer.
- Progressive Pokies: These pokies basically give you a lottery ticket with every spin that you take. They are rarely as advanced in the graphics department as other pokies are, but a lot of that is down to that fact that the most popular progressive pokies were created a few years ago. This pokies operate as normal, but there is also a rolling jackpot that can be activated at random. This can range from a few thousand to several million, depending on the game, and you have a chance of winning with every spin that you make. The biggest game in this category is Mega Moolah, which has broken several records and currently holds the record for the highest online pokie jackpot, which reached around $18 million.
- Bonus/Video Pokies: The most popular genre of pokie, these are the ones that offer a wealth of features and bonus rounds, including free spins, instant wins and a number of mini-games. Some of the most popular games in this category include Rainbow Riches and Avalon II, and although they have a wide range of RTPs, they typically have very good returns.
- Retro Pokies: These pokies look like the pokies you will remember from the arcades of old. They have few bonus rounds, if any, and they tend to offer just one payline. Some of them can be a little more complicated and eventful, such as Winning Wheels and The Gees Gees, both of which were created by Microgaming.
- Other Pokies: There are smaller numbers of alternative pokies as well, such as pokies like Chain Reactors and Beehive Bedlam Reactors, which play more like games of Candy Crush than pokies. There are also multiplayer pokies, where you play with a few other players, including the Playboy multiplayer pokie that you can find on the Microgaming software.
Return to Player
The Return to Player, or “RTP” for short, is the house edge, but instead of showing the advantage the house has over you, it shows the advantage you have over them. This number will often appear as a percentage figure between 90% and 98%. The higher the better, but when the different is infinitesimal, it probably won’t make a difference. To understand how this works, simply convert the percentage symbol to a dollar symbol — that’s what you will receive on average if you bet $100. So, if the RTP is 95%, then you should expect an average return of $95 for every $100 that you bet.
Still a little unsure on the legitimacy of online gambling, the fairness of online casinos or your online security? We receive a lot of queries on these topics and have answered some of the most common ones below:
What are the benefits of playing online?
The main benefit to playing online is convenience. You can play when you want and where you want. In Australia, where you often have to travel for miles to find a casino, this is very important. There is also a lot more choice with online gambling, and you can also find more bonuses, bigger loyalty schemes and other benefits that all gamblers can enjoy.
There is a certain joy to playing in an actual casino, with the rush of adrenaline, the noise, the chaos and the freebies, but it’s not something you do everyday. It’s an occasion, something that you need to make a big deal out of. However, with online gambling you can simply pick up and play whenever you want, whether you’re spending 5 minutes playing pokies while you travel, or you’re having a night-time poker session.
Can I really win real money?
Of course. The house will always have an edge over you, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t win. Casinos operate on the knowledge that even if one person wins a lot of money, several others will lose a lot of money, ensuring that they remain in profit. Regardless of how much money they lose and how many players win, a casino should always be in profit. Your only goal is to ensure that you are one of those lucky players.
It’s not just about one-off wins either. Yes there are players that score millions of dollars and walk away happy, but they are very rare and gamblers who win small amounts on a consistent basis are much more common. Many of these are professional gamblers that stick to games with low house edges and do what they can to get one up on the house, and many of them do just that. But for every professional gambler earning a profit, there are dozens of casual gamblers losing it all, which is why casinos remain profitable.
Do I pay taxes on my earnings?
Here in Australia, as is the case in most countries, you do not pay taxes on your winnings. So, there is no need to worry about putting some of your earnings to one side, and you should not declare your winnings as earnings either. There are many taxes associated with gambling in this country, but they only apply to the bookmakers and casinos located within Australia.
Do online casinos cheat?
Casinos do not need to cheat and they would be reckless if they did. Simply put, a casino operating fairly will generate a lot of business and because of the house edge, they will always be in profit. A casino that cheats may earn a little more money in the short-term, but they are unlikely to stick around in the long-term and could end up in a lot of trouble.
You also need to realize that there are many steps for a casino to become licensed. They need to be regulated and they need to be audited, with all of their games and their payment options checked by independent parties. We further elaborate on this within this article.
Understanding Random Number Generators and why they are Legal
The pokies that you will find in pubs and clubs operate in much the same way as the ones you can find online. They all work according to something known as a Random Number Generator, or “RNG” for short. This is what decides whether you will win or lose, and it is what keeps everything fair, while also making sure that neither the player nor the house can manipulate it.
Random Number Generators are regulated, audited and checked through organizations such as the Malta Gaming Authority to make sure that they are operating as they should. There are a lot of strict codes to make sure that there is no unfair advantage, and this is what keeps them legal and popular.
How to determine the legitimacy of a casino
To discover whether a casino is legit or not, you should first check to make sure they are regulated. All genuine casinos will display this information on their website. They will also be audited, and this information will also be displayed. Don’t just take those logos on face value though. Click-through onto the auditors and the regulators and make sure that that particular casino is in fact registered with them.
You should also be on the lookout for security certificates. The biggest casinos are rarely neglectful when it comes to the security of their servers and the safety of their members, but the same can not be said for some of the smaller casinos so it’s always worth keeping an eye out for these certificates. They differ, but the main one to look for is the “SSL Secure” certificate. You should also make sure that you are connected to a secure server (evident by the locked padlock symbol displayed in your URL bar) whenever you make a deposit or input any sensitive financial information.
Is my credit affected from gambling online?
No. Your credit report will not show your gambling activity and unless you’re taking out significant loans in order to gamble online, then your gambling should have no bearing on your credit. This is actually a very common belief and it has existed for some time, going hand-in-hand with the belief that debtors and even the government can view your gambling earnings. But this is simply not true.
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