Gambling is an altogether huge generator of revenue in Australia. An estimated 80% of the adult population engage in some type of gambling and betting sports is one of the top choices.
Sports betting was legal for a while as it was basically an unregulated free for all into the 19th century. However, as one would expect a consistent run of bribery scandals eventually made their way into the ring corrupting cycling, football, and boxing events. This served as strong material for those lobbying to outlaw sports betting. At the start of the next century, all the chaos surrounding sports betting led to the gradual banning of all variations of sports betting apart from horse racing done at the track.
Of course, just like they always have people continued to bet on sports illegally, and it would remain illegal until the 1980s. From that point on legalizing sports betting happened slowly and did not turn the corner until the 90s which featured the emergence of sports betting agencies. In 1996 Internet gambling became legal and by 1999 sports betting had majorly blown up in popularity and was legal all around the country.
Since the peaking time in 1999, Australia has implemented certain restrictions regarding online gambling as a whole but if the only thing you want to do is bet on sports then you are in luck. Still there are a few limitations and rules you should understand clearly before you start betting.
Very strangely, the licensing rules and regulations vary by each state. One common scenario that it can affect are the promotional offers. The site may be operating out of one state but if you live in a different one, this can impact what bonuses you are entitled to. It is a surprising rule that doesn’t make any sense because all it does is complicate the process and make the country seem like less of a country. The only consistency that does exist throughout all the states that you are 18 and can prove your identity.
The Interactive Gambling Act
In June of 2001, The Interactive Gambling Act (IGA) was passed by the Australian Commonwealth Parliament. The IGA deemed that it is an offense for any Australian online gambling operator to advertise “real money” online interactive gambling to anybody in Australia. It also illegalized other interactive gambling games like poker. Note that this responsibility was extended to all online gambling sites no matter who licensed them or where they operated. This law also only pertains to the gambling operators. If an Australian resident was playing Internet poker nothing can happen to them. Only the site stands to be penalized. The punishment for violating this act is quite severe. $220,000 per day for any individual within a gambling operation or $1.1 million for the company itself.
Under the IGA Australia would also accept business from customers in other countries. The only way they would not is if they were listen as a “designated country”. What is needed for that to happen is for that country to request they be excluded provided their country also has legislation.
Sports Betting Remains Legal
The word “Interactive” was the key word for the IGA’s intent as it was prohibiting acts of gambling that entailed a direct interaction, like what is needed for a poker game. Sports betting on the other hand, along with a few other forms of gambling are not considered interactive as long as the bet is placed before the game.
Meeting that requirement sounds like something that goes without saying and doesn’t need to be outlined so thoroughly, however, over the last number of years, “live” or “in the run” betting has become a very popular betting strategy especially in Europe and North America. Live betting is placing a bet on a game that is already in progress. If you like what you see from a team early on, regardless if they have a lead you might want to throw some money on them now that you have been given a first impression. Well that impression is enough to cross the line over from non-interactive to interactive thus illegalizing live betting in Australia, much to the chagrin of the bookies as prohibiting this special bet type means lots of business will be lost.
Since the law is structured so that no Australian citizen may be penalized for engaging in any types of sports gambling, other international gambling sites that do feature live betting still offer it to Australian customers. Maybe they don’t know about the IGA or more than likely they just don’t care. In any case, Australians can still participate in live betting but must incur the risk of doing so at an offshore website. As many have learned in the past and everybody now seems to know, depositing money to a gambling site especially outside your country has the disastrous potential of not receiving withdrawals. Even if the site is totally legit, licensed, and everything else you could want, you are still left with no recourse in the event something goes wrong.
Popular Online Sportsbooks
If live betting is important to you then you will have to look for sportsbooks based outside Australia. Two of the top online sportsbooks that accept Australian business are Bet365 and Betfair. If you can be satisfied without live betting, currently some of the top recommended sites are CrownBet, Luxbet, Pinnacle, Intertops, BetOnline, Mybookie.ag, Sportsbet.com.au, William Hill, and Ladbrokes.
Which Sports Can I Bet On?
The sportsbooks offer a wide variety to choose from most notably the Aussie Rules football (AFL). Its creation stemming from rugby, the AFL has become Australia’s national sport. On the other end of the spectrum you can bet on some of the more obscure games like eSports and darts. Australia’s sites also include horse and greyhound racing, all the top and second tier American sports that are always televised, which way the financials market is going to go, and even upcoming political elections. Given that live betting is not permitted, it is a little surprising that betting the financials market is not considered a violation of the IGA. Considering all the bets are made in response to the constant fluctuation that occurs throughout the day, how is that not interactive? This question may not mean much right now but that could be something that is brought up during any efforts made to legalize live betting in the future.
The Australian government only considers gambling to be a hobby and not a profession therefore they do not consider sports or any amount of gambling winnings to be taxable income. They deem it as a result of good luck since losing is expected over the course of many sessions. It is for these reasons they leave their citizens alone and only tax the gambling operators for their income.