Australian gambling activity and how it change in 2020

gambling chips on a gaming table

The gaming business has seen tremendous growth in the past couple of years, and it is expected to hit its peak in 2025. In this industry, some regions are more successful than others in terms of revenue generation and widespread popularity, and Australia is one such region. Gambling has been part and parcel of Australian culture ever since European settlers began flocking the territory. A lot of practices were brought to the continent by Europeans from their countries, one of them being betting. The first instance of legal gambling, however, can be traced back to 1973, and the license to offer the service was granted to the Tasmanian establishment West Point Hotel Casino. Ever since then, hundreds of casinos have opened up in different states, leading to a boom in the business.

The entry of online gambling in the late 20th century and its exponential growth in the 21st has done wonders to the gambling activity in Australia. The thriving economy in the region made it prime ground for the growth of online casinos, and the niche has since exploded to become the most popular leisure activity among its people. Today, more than 80% of adults participate in this kind of entertainment, mostly engaging in free pokies’ gameplay, which is the highest betting rate globally, beating even European heavyweights like the United Kingdom. Every year, it is estimated that the country’s residents spend more than 191 million dollars gambling and lose more than 227 million dollars in the vast range of activities that come with it. This equates to every citizen above the legal gambling age of eighteen spending more than 1200 dollars.

Current Gambling Laws

In the past, the role of regulating gambling activities was left to individual states rather than the federal government. The authorities in the territories focused on providing gambling services as well and relied heavily on the revenue they generated. However, with the entry of the 21st century and a significant rise in gaming among citizens, the Commonwealth sought to gain control of the industry.

The bid to control casinos in Australia began with the Senators Jocelyn Newman and Richard Alston who tabled a bill in 2000. The regulation sought to call for the examination of the gambling sector and recognize the implications it had on revenue collection and community welfare. The Commonwealth also sought to understand the regulatory mechanisms to get a grip on them and control the industry better. Hence, the Interactive Gambling Act 2001 was passed, which marked the most significant change in the Australian casino sector. The law sought to get a grip on gambling addiction that was sweeping through the continent. The act mainly focused on:

  • The effects that problem gaming caused in families and the community at large
  • Limiting the expansion of the casino business across Australia
  • Understanding the new concept of internet gambling to regulate it
  • Protecting the consumers, who are Australian residents

The IGA banned the provision of prohibited interactive gambling activities to anyone within the Australian borders, such as slots, table games, and other popular casino indulgences. However, they are open to offering their services to residents of different areas across the globe. It was also made illegal to advertise gambling services to the masses through hoardings, billboards, and print media. However, accidental or incidental advertising, as well as adverts on imported publications, were exceptions. ISPs are also safe from being criminalized for the content transmitted through third party users that ends up spreading gambling advertisement media.

The Interactive Gambling Act was reviewed in 2016, and some amendments were made to allow the provision of online gambling services, but with some limitations. For instance, all gambling establishments offering real money services to Aussies must include an option for gamblers to set spending limits to avoid drowning in debt from the habit. Also, gaming sites cannot loan players betting money to eliminate the chance of getting into credit debt. The role of upholding the laws stated in the IGA are entrusted to different regulatory authorities, including:

  • ACT Racing and Gambling Commission – an independent statutory authority that manages not only gaming and betting but also racing, which is prominent in the Australian market.
  • Victorian Casino and Gaming Authority that operates in Victoria.
  • Tasmanian Gaming Commission – it operates in Tasmania and receives support from the Tasmanian Department of Treasury and Finance’s Gaming Operations Branch.
  • Queensland Office of Gaming Regulation that oversees casinos, online gaming, lotteries, art unions, and keno in Queensland.

Even with these institutions, it does not stop gamblers from seeking casinos that do not hold them. The online gambling laws only have repercussions for operators that fail to meet the set standards. From the punters’ point for view, no laws are in place to limit them from seeking these services, and they do not have to adhere to the set rules in the IGA.

Problem Gambling

Gambling addiction is labelled a severe public health issue in the land down under with more than 150,000 adults struggling with it significantly. At the same time, another 350,000 engage in risks that make them vulnerable to it. With the widespread nature of gaming sites, the government is constantly working to hold up regulations, but uncontrolled spending and addiction are still on the rise. The Commonwealth has had some wins of late, one of them being banks’ agreement to close accounts used to transfer gambling funds and restrict companies operating illegally.

Australia Online Casinos

Australia Online Casinos

Even with the widespread nature of gambling addiction in Australia, it remains among the most targeted markets. Those responsible enough to enjoy the leisure activity have a wide range of establishments to choose from, most of which operate outside the country. With such a vast choice range, it is best to be cautious about the gambling dens to engage in business. Some features to look out for choosing the best sites include the following:

  • Operating licenses

The licenses used by a casino to operate is a significant telltale of their legitimacy. Local casinos must hold permits from statutory regulating bodies to prove that they work within legal bounds. Since international gambling destinations target Australian gamblers as well, research on some of the best licensing authorities that ensure the provision of reputable services by their licensees. Some of these bodies include the UK Gambling Commission, which is responsible for the gaming business in the United Kingdom. The Malta Gaming Authority and Gibraltar Gaming Commission also fall into this category, and they oversee the casino business in Malta and Gibraltar, respectively. Even though these licenses do not hold ground in Australia, they go to show that their licensees have undergone the necessary tests to prove that their games are fair.

  • Security

Security is a crucial detail to focus on, especially when dealing with an international casino where things can go south fast. Ensure that the gaming site has taken measures to keep sensitive data like banking credentials away from prying parties. Ideal gaming sites use SSL encryption of 128 bits and higher. Also, gaming sites should operate using password-protected accounts that provide access to only one party.

  • Acceptance of Australian players

Holding reputable licenses and being secure does not mean anything if the casino does not accept Australian players. Before settling on a gambling den, confirm that it accepts punters from the region by checking the terms and conditions. Usually, these sites also allow transactions using Australian dollars, which eases real money gameplay.

  • Banking methods

Real money online gaming comes with the requirement to transfer funds to and from casino accounts. Assess the cashier channels partnered with gaming sites to see whether any of the listed options are available in Australia. Visa, PayPal, Neteller, and Skrill are some of the channels that are accepted in the country.

  • Software providers and games

Look into the casino game collection to confirm whether it will meet your entertainment and gambling needs. Focus on the software developers, since they each have a unique approach to game development even if they are in the same category. Choose gaming sites that partner with software companies that excel in the craft such as NetEnt, Play’n Go, Microgaming, Betsoft, Novomatic, Blueprint Gaming, and Red Tiger Gaming.

  • Bonuses and promotions

Bonuses and promotions are an ideal way to build a bankroll using casino funds. Consider gambling destinations with offers that can be claimed by Australian players. Also, sift through the attached terms and conditions to make sure they offer a chance at generating profits.

2020 Changes in the Industry

Not much is expected in the Australian gambling industry in the remainder of 2020, but the government is looking to exploit technology in their efforts to combat illegal and problem gambling. For instance, brick and mortar casinos have been authorized to use face recognition to reduce underage citizens from slipping into their establishments to not only gamble but also have a drink or two. The tech will also restrict such residents from registering accounts with false details in online casinos, which is predicted to drive down the rate of underage gambling significantly. Within the next decade, the federal and state governments predict a healthy gambling environment in Australia with initiatives in the works to make it as regulated as possible.

In Brief

The Australian gambling industry can be deemed both a blessing and a curse. On the one hand, the sector generates billions in revenue, while on the other, it is the cause of societal breakdown due to widespread gambling addiction. However, with the government continually learning how to work the reigns of the niche, it will grow to become a safe place for both consumers and service providers.