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Online gambling and online casino gaming laws and regulations in Australia

Online gambling law

Unlike other jurisdictions only certain types of online gambling and online gaming is permitted and lawful in Australia. Online casino gaming (including slots, gaming machines or ‘pokies’ and table games such as roulette, blackjack, baccarat, craps etc.) is prohibited in Australia under the Interactive Gambling Act 2001 (Cth) (IGA). Online casino gaming in Australia is regulated by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA). ACMA monitors compliance with and enforces the interactive gambling laws. ACMA has the power to, amongst other things, instigate civil proceedings in Australia, notify border protection agencies of the names of directors/principals of offending illegal offshore operators, and liaise with foreign regulators to stop alleged offenders.

For organisations considering diversifying into the online gambling market in Australia, the most common licence sought is a bookmaker licence. Operator licences are nearly always State or Territory based and are typically monopolistic or very limited in numbers. There are several online-only gambling licenses which are also available, covering certain forms of internet gaming and bookmaking.

The Senet Legal experts are the leading online gambling law firm in Australia. Our team has in-depth expertise in submitting gambling license applications for online operators and suppliers and undertaking negotiations with State and Territory regulators. Our thorough understanding of the licensing process and requirements in each jurisdiction enables us to work closely with our clients and provide pragmatic and coherent advice throughout each stage of the licensing application process.

About the Interactive Gambling Act 2001 (Cth) (IGA)

The Interactive Gambling Act 2001 sets out the laws and regulations for gambling operators that offer or advertise gambling services and covers all gambling that takes place online, through a website or app and via a telephone. Online casino gaming (including slots, gaming machines or ‘pokies’ and table games such as roulette, blackjack, baccarat, craps etc.) is prohibited in Australia under the Interactive Gambling Act 2001. This means that gambling operators must not offer banned services in Australia. Amendments to the IGA have occurred over time to combat illegal gambling services and to provide greater consumer protection. Changes include for example the National Self-Exclusion Register as part of the National Consumer Protection Framework.

Understanding the National Consumer Protection Framework in Australia

The Commonwealth, State and Territory governments have developed a set of standard minimum protections for online gamblers, which must be adhered to by all online wagering providers. The National Framework will introduce 10 measures to protect consumers. These measures will be enforced across all Australian jurisdictions and align with current regulatory responsibilities.

Beginning from 26 November 2018, the measures within the National Framework have been implemented progressively. Some measures are already in place through the Commonwealth’s Interactive Gambling Amendment Act 2017 and state and territory regulations.

The most recent has been the progression by the ACMA to appoint a service provider to design and develop the National Self Exclusion Register. The ACMA will shortly be consulting with the wagering industry on the design of the system and the rules around the operation of the register. Trialing of the service is then expected to commence later this year ahead of an anticipated launch before mid-2022.

Seek advice from lawyers and solicitors that are experts in online gambling and online casino gaming

Senet act for leading online gambling and online gaming operators and are regularly instructed by entrepreneurs, start-ups, investors as well as international operators who are seeking to diversify and establish business operations in Australia. We play a critical role in successfully bringing innovative gambling businesses and their products to market by working in partnership with those businesses and their advisers throughout each stage of the gambling licensing process.

Our clients rely on us to help them make the right decisions in Australia’s complex legal, regulatory and political environment. We frequently advise on licensing matters including:

  • Applications for new gambling-related licenses and approvals
  • Dealings with gambling regulators, including new or varied product offerings
  • Company formation and incorporation
  • Corporate structuring and compliance with specific regulatory requirements
  • Specialised due diligence (including for investors, banks and other financial sponsors).

Senet also assist our clients with additional services required to establish operations in Australia including amongst other things, assistance with the identification of local directors, advice in relation to Trade Marks and advice in relation to Australian employment laws.

Our complete range of legal and advisory services

In addition to advising clients in relation to online gambling and gaming laws and regulations in Australia, our team are experts in all sectors of the industry. We advise sectors including racing, bookmakers, casinos, lotteries, gaming manufacturers, bingo, poker and social gaming across a spectrum of legal, advisory and gambling compliance training services. Through the Senet Compliance Academy we provide a full spectrum of gaming compliance training courses to ensure that all staff and the venue is complying with its legal and regulatory obligations. To meet your legal and regulatory obligations, contact us to discuss your needs.