Gambling in Australia is under the State’s jurisdiction and the Commonwealth doesn’t interfere with regulations. The equation changed recently with the introduction of online casinos and wagering sites. Thus, prompting the Federal Government to form legislation preventing Australian gambling websites from indulging Aussies. Online gambling, however, isn’t entirely illegal!
The industry operates out of a gray area, as the 2001 Interactive Gambling Act left loopholes for sports betting to continue. Race wagering is treated differently than standard sports bets in Australia. The former is a fundamental part of its history. Since horse racing is dependent on wagering proceeds for survival, the State and Federal Governments regulate it differently.
Breaking Down the Interactive Gambling Act 2001, And Amendment 2016/17
The 2001 Interactive Gambling Act was enforced keeping the side-effects of gambling in mind. However, technical loopholes forced the authorities to introduce additional legislation in 2016/17 to protect gamers.
While citizens can sign up on foreign gambling websites without repercussion, home-grown operators offering an interactive gambling experience can’t indulge local residents. However, the IGA suggested operators would not be punished for mistakenly allowing Australian citizens to sign-up.
The 2016 update prohibits online gambling, although race betting and lotteries remain legal. New legislation against “call-to-call” betting was introduced, preventing operators from offering unlicensed online gaming products to anyone living in Australia, or customers outside the country.
Horse race betting is a major revenue source for the Government and supports countless livelihoods. According to an early estimate, the race betting industry is worth $10.6 billion annually. Gambling restrictions will only cause trouble for the authorities. Hence, IGA 2001, Amendment 2016/17 was designed to not hamper the sports betting industry in any significant way while still regulating operation.
Sanctions on Online Gambling vs. Sports Betting
While sports betting is legal, most card games are not! Operators allow horse race wagering, pokies, and bingo, although online poker is illegal! Basically, any game involving real money and a mix of skill and luck isn’t allowed to operate within Australian boundaries.
Race betting is allowed, provided it’s not live-in-game. So, wagering on horse races is legal if no bets are placed during the event. However, no statement explicitly mirrors this fact.
The rising dominance of online casinos and sports betting is already taking its toll on the race betting industry. The IGA does not wish to add to its troubles. This is evident from the numerous studies conducted by independent authorities. While online betting is at an all-time high, race betting is yet to pick up the pace.
To summarize, online casino Australia can neither advertise real currency nor wager live horse races, although citizens can bet on foreign websites without being penalized. It’s the operator and not the player, who’ll run into trouble with law enforcement. Thankfully, the Aussie Government is yet to prosecute foreign gambling websites. Thus, creating a thriving environment for race betting!