Australians gamble more than anyone else. We spend more per capita than many other nations and in a list of the top 10 gambling nations, Australians, who lead the way, gamble nearly twice as much as anyone else on the list.
Despite this, we have a very strange relationship with online gambling, and although it’s widely available and common in most Australian households, it’s not as legal as you might expect. But before you get into a panic, we’re not saying that online gambling is illegal here or that you’re breaking the law by spending money in an online casino. We’re just saying that the laws are a little more complicated than you might realise.
Gambling Laws in Australia
Each state has their own laws concerning gambling, and what is legal and widely available in one state, might not be legal or widely available in another. These laws are quite extensive, so we won’t cover them in full here, but here’s a quick rundown of the Aussie gambling laws state-by-state:
- Australian Capital Territory: With some relaxed laws, gambling in this state is controlled by the Gambling and Racing Commission.
- New South Wales: Gambling is rife here, and there are more pokies in NSW than many other states and provinces worldwide, second only to Nevada.
- Norfolk Island: A tiny island, this is a tax haven and has some relaxed laws on all forms of gambling.
- Northern Territory: There are many legal casinos operating here, and while there are strict guidelines regarding who can be licensed, the taxes are quite low.
- Queensland: Although they have fairly relaxed laws, taxes are quite high here. All gambling is regulated by the Office of Liquor and Gaming Regulation.
- South Australia: There are some strict gambling laws in this state, and they are more independent regarding these laws than any other state. The Lottery and Gaming Act of 1936 dictates things here.
- Tasmania: Thanks to a unique act known as the Gaming Control Act of 1993, gambling laws are a little more relaxed here.
- Victoria: There are extensive regulations regarding gambling in this state, and all gambling is controlled by the Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation.
- Western Australia: Gambling is tightly restricted here and all forms of gambling are regulated by the Department of Racing, Gaming and Liquor.
Online Gambling in Australia
The online gambling laws in this country are a little more generalised, but if you want to establish any form of gambling business, online or offline, you still need to pay attention to local laws and regulations. The main issue with online gambling in Australia is that it is illegal to offer interactive services to locals and it is also illegal to advertise services in Australia.
When you add some pretty high local taxes to the equation, it makes for a fairly unpleasant proposition, which is why there are few online gambling sites based in Australia.
While individual states have individual acts governing the legalities of offline gambling, online gambling is pretty much covered by the Interactive Gambling Act of 2003, which applies throughout Australia. This is not easy reading, to say the least, but if you want to learn more about the online gambling codes in this country, then it’s a good place to start.
Gambling Taxes in Australia
Professional gamblers are taxed in Australia, and at 30%, it’s quite a hefty tax. However, there are no taxes for recreational gamblers, so providing you don’t fit the description of a “professional gambler” then you should be okay. This description is actually very hard to attain for a casino gambler and is more likely to be attached to poker players and blackjack players.
Most famously the tax office tried to get 30% of Joe Hachem’s $7.5 million winnings from the WSOP in 2005, but he successfully argued that he was playing poker for a hobby at the time. So, if a multi-millionaire poker player can make this claim and get away with it, and if you’re not devoting all of your time to gambling and earning all of your money from it, then you should be okay.
The Best Legal Casinos in Australia
There are many legal casinos available to Australian players, the best and the most experienced of which is Spin Palace. This casino attracts a large number of Aussie players, which is thanks in part to its use of the Microgaming software, which has over 500 high quality pokies, and in part to the many bonuses that they offer.
Spin Palace Benefits
So, what does Spin Palace offer players seeking legal and high-reward gambling here in Australia?
- $1,000 new member bonus
- Loyalty scheme
- Free spin bonus
- Large selection of banking options
- Over 400 high quality pokies
- Dozens of table games