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Australian gambling legislation

Traditionally, gambling legislation in Australia has been developed by the States and territory governments. The Australian States regulate gambling and provide licenses to operators, as they are the ones who derive revenue from these activities, and not the Commonwealth Government. The process changed somewhat back in 2001 with the development of the Interactive Gambling Act 2001.

Interactive Gambling Act 2001

The Interactive Gambling Act was introduced to protect Australian citizens from the negative effects of online gambling. The Act prohibits:

  • The offering of interactive gambling services to customers in Australia
  • The advertising of interactive gambling services to customers in Australia
  • Live or in-play betting
  • Unlicensed operators to offer regulated gambling services (ie. Unlicensed bookmakers)

Importantly, online sports and horse racing betting is not prohibited by the Act. For consumers, it is legal to gamble and bet online in Australia. However, we draw attention to the prohibition of unlicensed operators in the Interactive Gambling Act 2001; this section is designed to protect consumers from rogue operators. For this reason, it is recommended to bet with betting sites that are licensed and regulated in Australia.

Australian law snapshot

Legal age to place a bet The minimum age to bet either in person or online in Australia is 18
Internet betting Internet betting is allowed in Australia
Is gambling tax free Winnings from gambling are considered tax free for recreational players. Players that bet professionally should seek advice on taxation matters.

State and Territory legislation

While the Interactive Gambling Act 2001 forms the basis of Australian gambling laws surrounding online betting, much of the responsibility still rests with the States and Territories for legislation within their territory. As such, many of the laws that apply to betting in Australia, are provided by the States and Territories.

List of State and Territory Regulatory Authorities

Regulation of wagering operators

The States and Territories are responsible for regulating, issuing licenses and upholding the integrity of sports and racing activities in their state. Their responsibilities include the issuing of licenses to online bookmakers.

Betting laws are different in each State

Australia’s complicated legal framework for gambling and betting means that there are different laws for betting activities in each State and Territory. The area that accounts for most confusion is the legislation surrounding the advertising and promotion of inducements to bet. Some State bodies allow sign up bonuses, while others don’t. Other States, like South Australia, have far more stringent regulations on bonus bet promotions. Our guide to bonus bets covers each Australian State and will inform you of what you are eligible to, according to the regulations in your home State or Territory.

Responsible gambling

Each Australian State and Territory also provides support and practice codes for responsible gambling. This subject is garnering considerable attention from the Commonwealth Government too, and this may lead to a consolidation of certain gambling laws surrounding responsible gambling soon.

Consumer protection

While the State and Territory regulatory bodies are largely responsible for governing betting activity within their jurisdiction, consumers also have protection under Australian Consumer Law. No betting operator should: mislead, provide unfair terms or use questionable sales practices to coerce players to wager.

Summary of Australian gambling laws

The crux of it for Australian consumers is that betting online is legal. However, betting online during an event is prohibited. As eluded to in our betting guide, the laws in Australia are complex. Registering with a licensed operator, and understanding what promotions are available in your jurisdiction, will help you to navigate the betting landscape with confidence.