Australian Betting and Gambling Legislation

    Saying that Aussies love their gambling is almost like saying that water is wet – a massive understatement. Research has shown that there are more than 6.8 million regular gamblers in Australia – roughly 39% of the total population. 

    Some estimates have this figure set even higher, at 49%! As a result, Australia boasts one of the highest gambling rates in the world. From lotteries to scratch cards to pokies, betting is a huge pastime in the Land Down Under.

    Online gambling makes up a sizeable part of the country’s gambling and betting activity. Studies reveal that online betting has more than doubled since 2010 and this number is poised to grow. 

    The Australian government has taken note of this upward trend and they have legislated accordingly. In the next few paragraphs, we will discuss how online gambling is currently regulated. We will also talk more about what this means for betting sites and punters. Keep on reading to find out more!

    Australian Interactive Gambling Act

    It is interesting to note that, unlike other betting regions, Australia’s online betting is regulated at both federal (national) level and state or territory level. At a federal level, online gambling activities fall under the scope of the Interactive Gambling Act. This piece of legislation was enacted in 2001 and has undergone several amendments since, the latest being in December 2019. 

    The Interactive Gambling Act was enacted to lay out the dos and don’ts of interactive gambling in Australia. This includes any gambling that takes place by telephone, mobile app and via the internet. The Act, among other things, deals with the following aspects:

    • Which interactive gambling services are not allowed
    • The prohibiting of unlicensed, unregulated interactive gambling services
    • The advertising of interactive gambling services
    • The providing of services to an individual who is registered in the National Self‑exclusion Register

    While we do not intend to bore you with a detailed explanation of the Act (feel free to read through it when you have a moment to spare), we do want to highlight some of the rules that will have the most impact on the online betting space.

    The most critical aspect of the Act is undoubtedly the list of banned online services. In terms of the Interactive Gambling Act, the following services are completely prohibited:

    • Online Casinos
    • Online Poker
    • In-play betting
    • Sport betting services that do not hold an Australian license
    • Betting on the outcome of a lottery

    The Act is so strict on these provisions that they do not even allow advertising of these online services. If someone believes that a betting site has broken any of these rules, the Act provides for a complaint procedure that the individual may follow.

    The Interactive Gambling Act also allows for the creation of a register of Australian-licensed interactive wagering service providers, Remember, only sports betting services that hold an Australian license may provide services within the country. This register gives Aussie citizens the chance to check who’s legitimate and who is not.

    Thirdly, the Act provides for a National Self-Exclusion Register. This change was only introduced by 2019. Under the terms of this register, bettors who feel they may be at risk of addiction can choose to self-exclude from all licensed interactive betting services for a minimum of 3 months, up to an indefinite period. If an individual takes up the option, betting sites will not allow them to place a bet or open an account.

    The Australian online gambling industry has felt the effects of this legislation, with more than 150 online betting sites having withdrawn from the market since its enactment. On the positive side, these restrictions have caused a drastic reduction in gambling losses to sites based outside Australia.

    Legislation By State

    Unlike the UK and other markets, Australia does not have a single, overarching body that regulates all gambling activities in the country. Rather, the task of regulation falls to the individual states and territories. In addition to the Interactive Gambling Act, betting sites must also comply with each state’s rules, if they wish to operate there. Let’s take a quick look at these states.

    Australian Capital Territory (ACT)

    Online gambling licenses in the Australian Capital Territory are dealt with by the Gaming and Racing Commission. This gambling authority falls within the portfolio of the Minister for Regulatory Services. It is ACT’s only body capable of dealing with compliance, gambling education and, of course, the issuing of licenses. 

    New South Wales

    Bookies seeking to operate in the state of New South Wales will have to apply to Liquor and Gaming New South Wales, the statutory body responsible for handling licensing, policy and compliance. From time to time, they may also need to deal with the Independent Licensing and Gaming Authority. This body periodically delegates some of its routine licensing functions to Liquor and Gaming New South Wales.

    Northern Territory

    Two bodies in the Northern Territory handle online gambling and betting activities. The first is the Northern Territory Racing Commission (NTRC), which focuses on compliance matters. The second organisation is Licensing NT. They deal with all licensing matters related to gambling activities in the territory. 


    For a bookmaker to obtain a license to operate in Queensland, they need to consider two regulatory bodies – The Queensland Office of Liquor and Gaming Regulation (QOLGR) and the Office of Regulatory Policy. The former is responsible for all licensing and compliance issues, while the latter deals with the legislative development for the regulation of gaming, fair trading and liquor.

    South Australia (SA)

    Bookies who want to offer services in SA will need to apply to Consumer Business Services, the territorial authority responsible for the issuing of licenses, as well as handling compliance related to betting, lotteries and gaming machines.


    There is only one independent gambling authority operating in Tasmania: The Tasmanian Liquor and Gaming Authority. If a betting site operator wishes to offer its service here, this is the body they need to apply to.


    For any bookmaker hoping to operate in Victoria, they must comply with policies, regulations and legislation of the Office of Liquor, Gaming and Racing. They will also need to obtain a licence from the Victorian Commission for Liquor and Gambling Regulation an independent statutory body responsible for the regulation of gambling laws, the monitoring of compliance and the providing of licences.

    Western Australia

    In Western Australia, betting licenses, policies and compliance all fall under the scope of the Western Australia Department of Racing, Gaming and Liquor. If a betting wants to operate her, this is the statutory authority they must deal with.

    Impact of Legislation on Sign-Up Bonuses

    It is no secret that the Interactive Gambling Act, combined with the various state regulations, has had a profound effect on Australia’s gambling industry. While the aim of these laws has always been to protect the consumer, many betting sites find these rules quite onerous.

    One of the biggest effects of this law has been in the area of welcome bonuses. Across the world, welcome bonuses are used to entice and incentivize bettors to join a particular bookmaker. Betting sites offer the moon to customers, hoping that the bonus is sufficient to gain them a new customer. 

    The Interactive Gambling Act specifically prohibits the offering of any type of welcome bonus to prospective customers. 

    The advertising of such an offer is also expressly forbidden. As a result of these rules, punters across Australia should not expect any type of welcome bonuses when they sign up, nor should any bookie be advertising them. This law has massively affected the promotional strategies of bookmakers throughout the country.


    Is In-play betting completely banned in Australia?

    No, it is not. In-play betting via the internet is completely prohibited. However, if a punter wishes to make an in-play bet, he or she can do so via telephone. Many top bookies will display a telephone number that customers can call if they are hoping to place a bet during a live event.

    Can I obtain a single operator license for the whole of Australia?

    Yes, you can. If you hold a gaming license that is the equivalent of another state or territory, your license will be recognised, provided that all the requirements are met.

    Are gambling winnings taxed in Australia?

    The answer is no. Gambling winnings, including lottery winnings are not subject to tax in Australia. That’s good news!