Is it Legal to Play Online Casinos in Australia

Is it Legal to Play Online Casinos in Australia

The fact that more people are betting online everywhere from their homes has raised many questions related to the legal issues faced by the internet casinos in Australia. This post outlines the existing gambling laws in Australia and will help you to assess the legality of participating in iGaming and pokies. However, this article does not replace the competence of a legal expert who can explain in detail your particular case if you are in doubt.

Is the operation of online casinos and pokies allowed in Australia?

Under the Interactive Gambling Act 2001 (IGA), Australian operators are not allowed to provide online casinos Australia and poker machines to Australians. However, citizens can gamble at online casinos and pokies through offshore websites without committing any legal violation.

It is, on the other hand, legal for license holders in Australia to offer online sports betting and lotteries. So it’s complicated!

Regulations on Gambling in Australia

The gambling legislation of Australia is complex because each state and territory manages their own gaming laws. While creating appropriate legislation for online gambling in Australia remains complex, the current law is the Interactive Gambling Act 2001 (IGA). The IGA serves as the primary regulation for online gambling in the country. One of its main purposes is to protect Australians from potential harms associated with various gambling services, including online casino games and online pokies.

What does the Interactive Gambling Act of 2001 (IGA) entail?

The IGA prohibits the provision of online casinos and pokies to Australian residents. Interactive gambling, as defined by the IGA, includes gambling activities conducted via the internet or mobile networks. This means that companies offering these services to players in Australia are breaking the law. It’s important to note that the IGA targets the operators of online gambling services, not the individual players. Therefore, while companies cannot legally offer online casinos and pokies to Australians, individuals are not penalized for participating in such activities.

Engaging with Overseas Online Casinos and Pokies from Australia

Australian operators are barred from offering online casinos and pokies, so residents often turn to offshore gambling sites. These sites operate outside Australian law and can legally provide services to Australian customers. However, the lack of government regulation for many offshore operators can lead to risks, including financial fraud and data breaches. Without proper oversight, these sites may not be safe or reliable. Therefore, Australians should be cautious and well-informed before signing up with an offshore casino or pokies site.

Regulatory Authorities in Australian Gambling

Gambling regulations in Australia are decentralized, with each state and territory having its own set of rules and regulatory bodies. For example, the ACT Gambling and Racing Commission oversees gambling in the Australian Capital Territory, Liquor & Gaming NSW in New South Wales, and the Office of Liquor and Gaming Regulation in Queensland. These bodies regulate various gambling activities, including land-based gaming, lotteries, and sports betting. They enforce responsible gambling practices and prevent problem gambling, reflecting Australia’s commitment to a regulated gambling culture nationwide.

Legal Status of Online Sports Betting and Lotteries

Offshore online casinos and pokies are restricted in Australia by the Interactive Gambling Act (IGA), but sports betting and lotteries are allowed if operated by licensed providers. This law permits Australians to legally participate in online sports betting and lotteries, provided the operators hold valid licenses and comply with regulations.

Long Story Short

There are no legal online casinos in Australia, although there is online sports betting and lotteries.

It is not illegal for Australians to play at offshore casinos. Providing they can access them. While the Interactive Gambling Act 2001 (IGA) prohibits offshore operators from offering online casinos and pokies to Australians, it does not criminalize the act of Australian citizens gambling on these offshore websites. So Australians can gamble at online casinos and pokies through offshore websites without committing any legal violation. Providing they are able to access said casinos! Australians are generally blocked from accessing offshore online casinos. IGA enforcement measures include blocking websites and financial transactions related to these illegal gambling services. 

Australians can sometimes still access these sites by:

  1. Using Virtual Private Networks (VPNs): VPNs can mask a user’s location, making it appear as if they are accessing the internet from a different country.
  2. Finding Unblocked Sites: Some offshore gambling sites may not be effectively blocked or continuously change their URLs to avoid detection.
  3. Payment Methods: Using alternative payment methods that are not easily tracked or blocked can allow transactions with offshore gambling sites. These could include: Bitcoin, Ethereum, and other cryptocurrencies; services like Skrill, Neteller, and PayPal; or prepaid cards like Paysafecard.


As with many legislative bodies around the world, the IGA blocks gambling sites to protect Australians from the potential harms associated with online gambling and to reduce the risk of problem gambling, minimize financial losses, and prevent underage gambling. However, for those who love iGaming, there’s hope!

Future of Online Gambling in Australia

With the widespread use of internet gambling, there is ongoing debate about whether Australia’s 23 year old gambling laws should be updated. Some stakeholders believe Australians are pushed to use illegal international gambling sites because they cannot access online casinos and pokies domestically. They are concerned about the growing risks associated with this. Additionally, there is potential tax revenue if internet gambling were regulated by the Australian government. Some officials and community members are calling for a review of the IGA to allow licensing and regulation of online casinos and poker machines. However, no definite amendment schedule is currently in place. Meanwhile, Australians interested in online gambling are advised to research and choose reputable international sites to minimize risks.