Is it Legal for Australians to Play Online Casino Games?

The short answer to this is both ‘yes’ and ‘no’!

Many Australians want to play for real money online and to this date the laws do not say anything about any individual Australian player gambling at online casinos, whether it be on their favourite pokies or on any other game. Obviously the online casino that the player has chosen has to accept them but usually these are reputable, fully licensed and regulated offshore companies that accept Australian players.

What is illegal is for operators of gambling businesses to offer gaming services and to advertise those services to Australian citizens, although it is legal for Australian gambling companies to operate sports betting site and online lottery services within the country.

This leaves bettors two options, either to visit a land based shop (most of which are owned and operated by Tabcorp Holdings) or they can sign up with one of the quality licensed sports betting sites, many of which offer other online games and which can be accessed by downloading the safe and secure software, even though these sites are not licensed by Australian regulators they have still been granted online gambling licenses in jurisdictions such as Gibraltar, Alderney and the Isle of Man.

This in effect means that the best online Australian casinos stick to the gambling laws of these jurisdictions and they also maintain the highest standards of operation within the industry today. Customer satisfaction is of top priority and many will offer 24/7 support to their members, including live chat features for immediate assistance. You will usually find that telephone numbers are also toll free (when made from a land line.)

Another feature of these quality sites is that many games can be played either for real money or simply for fun (or to get to know a new game.) Australia facing casinos allow their players to fund their personal accounts and also withdraw their winnings using a wide range of banking methods which are convenient to Australian players.

*The Interactive Gambling Act (IGA) was passed in 2001.

EU Commission Sues Sweden over Online Betting and Poker Laws

Legal action was begun against Sweden in the middle of October 2014 by the European commission for the failure of Sweden to change its rules on online betting and poker games which the EU said would breach EU laws on the free movement of services.

Sweden was referred to Europe’s highest court in two separate cases related to the restriction of gambling licenses (to both state owned operators and also to domestic operators.)

Apparently Sweden has imposed restrictions on the organization and promotion of online betting services in such a way that it is inconsistent with EU law and changes to the Swedish gambling law have been envisaged but never implemented.

At present Sweden only grants licenses to domestic operators and state owned companies which the Commission say falls short of EU rules on the free movement of services and that under EU law its 28 member states are allowed to impose restrictions on the cross border supply of some types of gambling activity in order to protect the general public against addiction or even to help prevent crime if measures can be demonstrated to be suitable and or necessary. It has also been claimed that the Swedish licensing system for online betting has not been applied in a systematic way and the authorities did not supervise the commercial activities of the exclusive service provider.

In response the Swedish government said that its intention was to quicken the work that has already been carried out in order to find a licensing system that could be introduced into Sweden. In the second case regarding Sweden’s regulation of online poker games the Commission has stated that Swedish authorities have allowed and tolerated the unauthorised offer and promotion of poker games in the country.

This is the first time Brussels has taken a member state to court over gambling laws and the European Gaming and Betting Association has called this action a ‘breakthrough.’

*Sweden was actually first asked to amend its betting laws back in 2007 and was also warned in November 2013.