Online gambling – make sure you use a legal operator
Is online gambling legal in Australia?
Some forms of online gambling are legal in Australia, but others are not.
Only licensed gambling providers can legally offer online gambling products in Australia. And some online gambling products are banned.
Illegal online gambling products include:
- online casinos
- casino-style games (like poker, blackjack and roulette)
- slots (pokies)
- in-play sports betting
- sports betting services which do not hold an Australian licence
- betting on the outcome of a lottery.
Which online gambling providers are legal in Australia?
A list of licensed online gambling services is available through the Australian Communications and Media Authority’s (ACMA) register of Australian-licensed interactive gambling providers.
Before you use any online gaming or betting service, make sure it is on the register. If it is registered in Australia, it is bound by Australian laws and protections and you have redress to Australian laws if you have a dispute with the gambling company.
Sites based outside Australia are acting illegally if they offer you gambling.
How do I make a complaint about a licensed online gambling provider?
If a licensed provider is offering credit or in-play betting, you can make a complaint to ACMA because these are banned through Commonwealth law, which ACMA regulates.
For other complaints about licensed providers, contact the relevant state licensing authority. To find out which licensing authority you need to contact, check the register.
If a gambling provider is not on this register, you can make a complaint to ACMA.
What’s the risk of using illegal online gambling providers?
If you gamble online using a company that operates illegally, you run a higher risk of losing your money. They will not give you the same customer protection as a licensed service.
These services sometimes refuse to return deposits or pay winnings to the customer. As the services are operating illegally, there is little recourse for Australian customers.
There is also a risk that, because they are illegal, these websites will be blocked in Australia when identified. This means you may not be able to log in from Australia and access your existing account.
Many sites exist in countries where gambling laws offer little protection to gamblers. Even in countries where better consumer laws and regulation exist, pursuing a complaint from Australia is likely to be difficult and expensive.
Are illegal gambling websites blocked in Australia?
ACMA asks Australian internet service providers to block access to online gambling websites if serious criminal or civil offences are involved.
Can I report or complain about an illegal gambling website?
You can make a complaint to ACMA if you think a website offers illegal gambling services. You do not have to give your name.
If you have problems recovering money from an overseas gambling website, your options are to:
- seek independent legal advice
- complain to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission
- contact the relevant licensing authority.