Best Australian Casinos – Online Gambling in Australia

australia casinos

Online gambling in Australia is a confusing thing. An Australian law exists that appears to prevent Australians from gambling online, yet the government of Australia allows online sports betting. In some ways, Australian online casinos are a lot like American-facing online casinos. In fact, a bill passed in America by that country’s government had a huge impact on online gambling in Australia.

Australian online casinos do exist, even though the legal standing of online gambling in Australia is on very shaky ground. Australians who want to play casino games or poker online have some options to pick from as of this writing, though existing laws and political trends in Australia suggest that the government could move to further block Australian access to online gaming sites.

Are Australian Online Casinos Legal?

Australia is one of the most gambling-friendly countries in the world. Settled mostly by citizens of the UK, where gambling is socially acceptable and a big part of their cultural history, Australians have long embraced many different forms of gambling. Sports betting culture is just as big in Australia as in the UK; maybe more so. The biggest holiday of the year in Australia is not Australia Day or ANZAC Day, but the Melbourne Cup, a horse racing event.

Best Australian Online Casinos & Casinos in AUD

Rank Online Casino Bonus Mobile Learn More
1. Spin Palace $1000 Droid / iPhone / iPad Spin Palace Casino
2. 888 Casino $500 Droid / iPhone / iPad 888 Casino
3. All Slots Casino $1000 Droid / iPhone / iPad All Slots Casino
4. Bet365 Casino $1000 Droid / iPhone / iPad Bet365 Casino

You may think that Australia’s openness to traditional gambling would lead to lax online gambling laws, but this isn’t the case. Early in online casino history, in 2001, the Australian government passed the Interactive Gambling Act or IGA. The IGA banned any new sites from opening but allowed those already in business to continue offering online gambling. The government’s position was that the IGA was the only way to protect Australians from the unknown implications of online gambling while the government studied how to incorporate online gaming into Australia’s existing gaming markets. Over a decade later, the IGA still stands, and there is little talk of moving to overturn the bill and allow online gambling in Australia.

The IGA doesn’t make the act of gambling online a crime for Australian citizens, instead it makes it illegal for online gaming sites to do business with Australians. What that means is that it isn’t illegal for Australians to play poker or blackjack online, it’s just illegal to create a platform that allows them to play those games. Another provision in the IGA allows online sports betting for all citizens of Australia, and there are plenty of government licensed sportsbooks doing business with Australians.

What about online casinos that were already doing business before the IGA was passed? Shouldn’t there be some legal casinos left from the pre-IGA days? At least one major Australian online casino was up and running before the IGA: Lasseters. Unfortunately, Lasseters ceased doing business in 2008. The company’s collapse came as a direct result of the passing of the UIGEA anti-gambling bill in America. Lasseters, as an Australian company, was forced through a trade agreement with America to ban American players, and the site never recovered from the loss of that American gambling money.

It is difficult to answer the questions, “Are Australian online casinos legal?” The short answer is no, the IGA clearly states that it is illegal to provide online gambling to Australians. That said, there are online casinos that accept Australian customers and even some that accept the Australian dollar.

Online Casinos that Accept AUD / Australian Dollar

Technically, all “interactive gambling service providers” that do business with Australians are operating illegally under Australian law. But that hasn’t stopped some online casino sites from doing business with Australians: since these sites operate far away from Australia, breaking Australian law is not a concern.

For proof, look at how many online casinos allow transactions using the Australian dollar. There are dozens of online gaming sites that go out of their way to announce that they accept deposits and pay withdrawals in Australian dollars, even though it is technically illegal (in Australia) to provide gambling services online to Australians.

If you live in Australia, it is important to find an online casino that accepts the Australian dollar. There are ways of swapping currencies if you choose to play at a gaming site that doesn’t accept the Australian dollar, but these currency exchange methods can be expensive and time-consuming. Since there are some casinos that do accept the Australian dollar, there’s no reason to play at a gaming site that doesn’t let you use your native currency.

The Future of Online Casinos in Australia

The strange legal-but-not-legal position of online gambling in Australia can’t last forever. All Australian gambling law has started with a period of strict control followed by a gradual lenience and eventually full legal status. When settlers first arrived in Australia, certain games of chance and even bets on sports were strongly controlled by the government, but these days you can gamble in some form in 80% of Australian businesses. It’s likely that online gambling will face the same gradual relaxation until eventually it is regulated by the government and made legal.

How to Pick an Australian Online Casino

Picking an online casino that accepts Australian players leaves you with plenty of options. Due to the wording of the IGA, gambling at online sites isn’t illegal. When it’s time to pick an Australian-facing online casino site, first make sure you’re dealing with a reputable site. Read up on the site, find reviews written by people who have played there, and look for the site’s licensing information. Then, check to see that the site accepts deposits using Australian dollars. If the site also allows a payment method you’re comfortable with, you’re in business.

Online casino gambling in Australia is a complicated mess. As with all gambling in Australia’s history, the current ban on providing online gaming to Australians is likely to fade over time, though for now it is still technically illegal for gaming sites to do business with Australians. The trick to play at online casinos in Australia is finding a site that accepts deposits and pays withdrawals in Australian dollars.