Gambling License in Australia:
Are There Many Licensed Online Casinos in Australia?

Aussies love gambling despite the country’s strict gambling laws. But Australia’s best online casinos… are not Australian. Popular among Aussie players online gambling sites are usually operated from abroad. How is it possible that Aussie gamblers play at foreign casinos and don’t play at licensed Australian online casino sites?

Placing bets on pokies, lottery games, and sports events is part of the popular culture in Australia. One also cannot forget that the world's first slot machines were made in Australia. Several Aussies are employed in casinos and gambling outfits, and over 80% of the country's adults admit that they enjoy gambling. Australia is dotted with sophisticated land-based casinos and pokies are freely available in its clubs and pubs.

Gambling is a legalized activity in Australia. If you want to gamble or run a gambling business in Australia, you have to follow certain laws. This article is a guide to AU gambling licenses.

Gambling License in Australia
Gambling License in Australia
Gambling License in Australia

Gambling Laws in Australia

In Australia, gambling is regulated at two levels—federal level and state/regional/territorial level. So the country has many gambling authorities that regulate the activity within their jurisdictions. Gambling businesses in Australia have to comply not only with state / regional / territorial regulations but also with federal regulations.

Each Australian state or territory has a Casino Control Act on the basis of which it grants licenses to businesses that apply for it. The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) is responsible for regulating the country’s communications and media industry, enforcing regulations, and monitoring online and telephonic gambling activities.

Here are the bodies responsible for regulating gambling activities within specific states:

✅ Office of Liquor, Gaming and Racing – New South Wales
✅ ACT Gambling and Racing Commission – Australian Capital Territory
✅ Licensing Commission – Northern Territory
✅ Office of Liquor and Gaming Regulation – Queensland
✅ Independent Gambling Authority – South Australia
✅ Tasmanian Gaming Commission – Tasmania
✅ Department of Racing, Gaming, and Liquor – Western Australia
✅ Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation – Victoria

The most important gambling law in Australia is the Interactive Gambling Act of 2001. This law makes it illegal for businesses located offshore and onshore to offer online casino and poker games to Australian residents. However, onshore companies can offer similar services in other countries.

The only legal forms of online gambling in Australia are sports betting and online lottery games. However, in-play betting and playing instant win games such as scratchcards is illegal.

Gambling Licenses in Australia – Types and Maintenance

As previously mentioned, companies and individuals who want to operate gambling services in Australia must obtain a license.

The following is a list of different types of licenses in AU:

Bookmakers’ License – You need a bookmakers’ license to offer sports betting, horse betting, and fantasy sports betting services.
Gaming Venue License – This is a license that allows you to run your business in a particular locality. In addition, you need a permit for every gambling machine you plan to offer. The country has strict laws regarding the number of gambling machines permitted per state.
Bingo License – Laws regarding bingo games and bingo licensing vary from region to region.

Maintaining your gambling license is as important as obtaining it. Usually, gambling licenses remain valid for several years, but it all depends on regional gambling laws and the type of gambling service offered.

Usually, Australian gambling licenses remain valid for a lifetime unless they were granted in Victoria. You need to renew a Victorian gambling license once in ten years. Even if your license remains valid for a lifetime, you need to undergo a review procedure every five years.

The fee structure and procedures related to license maintenance and renewal vary from one Australian state to the other.

To retain their licenses, gambling businesses are required to maintain high standards of advertising and responsible gambling. Those found guilty of violating gambling laws have to pay heavy penalties.

Licensed gambling companies in Australia have to implement the following measures to retain their licenses:

✅ Verify player accounts.
✅ Maintain proper records.
✅ Provide information related to financial transactions to Austrac.
✅ Report suspicious activities on the past of gamblers.
✅ Ascertain source of player funds to minimize risks related to the financing of terrorist activities and money laundering.

Even as we write, Australia is amending its gambling laws to give its law-enforcement bodies and gambling regulators the power to initiate measures to curb illegal gambling and block illegal online casinos.

Australia’s Tax Laws

All licensed gambling operators in Australia are required to pay the federal government taxes of 30% on their income. However, this applies only to large businesses. The income tax rate for the smaller ones is 27.5%.

The tax rate also depends on state or territory, the type of gambling service or product offered, and the type of gambling license. In most cases, individual gambling establishments are considered before determining the tax rates. Each type of gambling activity—lottery games, casinos, gaming machines, and sports betting—has a different tax rate.

Tax rates for casinos, gambling machines, and sports betting depend on losses incurred by players (20% to 35%). The tax rates for lottery games are also based on losses incurred by players, but they are the highest (45% to 90%).

Now here is some great news for gamblers in Australia. You can keep every cent of the prize you win while gambling. Australia does not consider gambling winnings as income and, therefore, does not impose any tax on winnings. So you don’t have to declare your winnings and pay taxes on them.

Online Casinos Licensed in Australia

Australia’s online gambling laws permit several forms of online gambling. For example, online lotteries and online sports betting are legal in Australia. A few states have legalized online casinos, but owing to legal restrictions, they are available only to residents of that state or locality. One can safely say that licensed online casinos are almost non-existent in Australia.

The gambling laws of Australia make it illegal for businesses to offer online casino games to residents, but they do not prevent residents from signing up at offshore online casinos licensed in jurisdictions such as Curacao, Alderney, Gibraltar, Malta, Isle of Man, Kahnawake, and others. Aussies are free to register accounts and play for real money at offshore online casinos.

You are safe as long as you sign up at a reputed, experienced, and well-known online casino. But reputed, well-known, and experienced companies steer clear of the Australian online gambling market because of the laws. This narrows the choice of online casinos for Australian players, forcing them to sign up at mediocre internet casinos considered illegal by the Australian government. The dangers of signing up at such online casinos are many, as we will discuss in the following section.

If you want to play at an offshore online casino, consider the following factors before signing up:

✅ Find out if the online casino is licensed in a reputed gambling jurisdiction such as Malta, Alderney, or Gibraltar.
✅ Check if the online casino is associated with independent auditors such as iTech Labs, GLI, or eCOGRA.
✅ Find out if the online casino offers games from well-known and reputed providers.
✅ Test customer support to find out if they are prompt, helpful, and courteous.
✅ Read third-party reviews of the online casino and discuss it on gambling forums.
✅ Check the banking page to find out if the online casino supports payment methods familiar to you.
✅ Research the online casino’s gaming software and find out if it is mobile compatible.

Dangers of Playing at Unlicensed Online Casinos in Australia

You can trust a licensed online casino to provide high-quality gambling services. In the process of obtaining an Australian gambling license, the online casino has to prove that it is capable of maintaining the accepted standards of the industry with regard to customer care, safety & security, game fairness, responsible gambling, and others.

Licensed online gambling sites have to report to their licensing authorities periodically to ensure that they are complying with the gambling regulations. An online casino operating on a license is not in danger of being blocked or prosecuted by the government.

Online casinos have to get a license to gain the trust of their customers, avoid legal hassles, and legally accept deposits and credit winnings. They have to prove their worth to the licensing authorities to obtain a license and maintain the best industry standards to retain it. So you can rest assured that licensed online casinos deliver high-quality gaming services.

Licensed online casinos in Australia are also required by the law to support responsible gambling and offer effective player protection tools to help players stick to their bankroll limits. They also direct players at risk of problem gambling to non-profit support groups.

The following are the dangers of playing at unlicensed online casinos in Australia:

✅ The quality of customer service is very poor at unlicensed online casinos.
✅ They process payouts slowly, making you wait endlessly for your winnings.
✅ They give you no reasons for withholding your winnings.
✅ You never know when they will shut down and vanish with your deposits.
✅ Since they are not licensed in Australia, you cannot approach any law-enforcement agency in your country with complaints.
✅ The government may block them at any moment, making it impossible for you to access your deposits.