The Interactive Gambling Act of 2001 is the main legislative protection in force to prevent Australian players from falling foul of the dangers of online gambling. The act prohibits almost all forms of ‘interactive’ gambling – that pretty much means online gambling.
This law makes it an offense for the online casino or poker room to allow Australians to play in their online gambling site. Some betting is exempted though, such as sports betting, although it specifically prohibits ‘in play’ betting for some reason.
The onus is on the Gaming Club online casino to abide by the law, and there is no provision in this law to make it an offense for the player to gamble online. Australian players can gamble online in any poker site or online casino that will take them.
This law also allows gambling operators to operate from within Australia so long as they are offering their services only to players that are outside the country.
This situation has led a lot of the more well know online casinos and especially poker rooms to prohibit Australian players from accessing their sites. While in a strange twist one of the bigger poker rooms that continues to accept players from the United States of America is actually located in Australia.
Anyway, that is the situation as it stands today, but the whole internet gambling phenomenon has caused the minister in charge of internet regulation to review this legislation with a view to updating it to allow for the changes in online gaming in the last decade. While this review could see Australian lawmakers accept the reality of the internet age and relax their laws, it could also go the other way and tighten things up a whole lot more.
Of course many lawmakers, especially in the U.S., are now looking to online gambling as a solution to their economic woes in the form of the taxes that are to be had, and so it may happen that the Australian Government comes into line with most of the rest of the world and allows their players to have the full benefits of the internet gambling revolution.
We will wait with anticipation. The report is due in June 2012.