Online pokies are up there with the most played online casino games, and for a good reason. Pokies give online casino players excitement and a real shot at winning money. They also give players a rivaling experience as is found in brick-and-mortar casinos. Therefore, it doesn't come as a surprise that Australian players like online pokies a lot!
It is not just the scintillating experience that attracts Aussie players, online pokies offer unmatched convenience. Players don't have to leave the comfort of their homes to access these games as they are available at the swipe of a finger. The odds offered by most online pokies are not the worst either. If anything, online pokies have far better odds than the traditional slot machines in brick-and-mortar casinos.
Despite the love that Aussie players have for online slots, there is one hindrance they have to put up with — pokies regulations.
Online Pokies Gambling Regulations In Australia
Even though Australia is home to one of the oldest and most established casino industries, the country has surprisingly 'primitive' legislation governing online gambling. For an industry that sees more than $175 billion every year, the Australian gambling laws are lagging when compared to other markets in the caliber of Australia.
It Is Illegal to Operate Online Casino Business in Australia
According to the Interactive Gambling Act of 2001, online casinos can't offer interactive gaming services to the Australian players. In other words, iGaming services, save for online sports betting, are illegal in Australia.
Online pokies are part of the iGaming services. So, Australian casinos and betting houses can't offer them to the Aussie players. Other casino games such as roulette, blackjack, table games, and live dealer games are all part of the illegal services too, and thus can’t be offered to the public.
Legislation Focuses on Service Providers
Unlike most countries such as the UK, US, Canada and even the West where the bills clearly define the legality of gambling for both players and service providers, gambling laws in Australia cover only service providers. There are no rules as to whether it is illegal or legal for gamblers to play online games.
The regulations are clear on the penalties and punitive steps for any casino operator though. The punishment for breaking the online gambling laws in Australia range from massive fines for the officials in charge of the casinos to revoking of licenses of the gaming companies.
It Is Legal for Aussies to Play Online Bookies
Despite the negative attitude of the Aussie government towards online gambling, it is LEGAL for Aussie players to play online bookies. The players are only allowed to place their bets on sports events and races (but not in-play). Betting companies should, however, be licensed by the Australian governmental bodies. Players can also place live wagers in brick-and-mortar casinos that support sports betting.
Surprisingly, Aussie players are not prohibited from gambling in offshore casinos. Moreover, Australians are some of the most active players in international casinos that offer online pokies and other games. They spend billions on these online casino websites annually. This fact begs the question of whether it was a good idea for the Australian government to ban online gambling at Aussie casinos. These billions spent could mean billions in revenue for the country!
Adverse Legislation Prevents Addiction. Or Does it?
The rationale for banning online casinos in Australia was to try and control addiction to online gaming. By reducing the time spent on mobile phones and tablets betting, the Aussie government hoped that it would control addiction to gambling and reduce the number of people hooked to wagering on online casino games.
How effective has this measure been, though? If numbers and statistics from international casinos are anything to go by, then the rule has not managed to curb gambling addiction and the number of people playing online pokies. As mentioned above, Australia is home to the most active gambling populace in the world, and the majority of punters play online.
There are reports of some casino companies offering illegal gambling services to Australia players in a bid to capitalize on their love for online pokies. Since the new law took effect more than a decade ago, there have been more than 1,000 cases of online casino operators accepting Australian players via their offshore websites. Although the government is doing everything to solve this burning problem, the market is still rife with illegal gambling activities.
Need to review the rules
If the Australian gambling industry is to keep up with the other established markets, then the government will have to review its online gambling legislation governing online pokies and other casino games. Online pokies have massive revenue-generating potential, and only through proper regulation the industry will have a chance to thrive.