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Gambling is one of the most popular pastimes in Australia, where many different forms of game can be accessed with very liberal laws pertaining to such in place. Because of this, the growth of gambling games has increased over time. The first fully legal casino in the country was the West Point Hotel Casino in Tasmania, which opened in February of 1973. This only occurred after several years of campaigning for a casino licence on the island. Of course, gambling in itself dates back to a much earlier time than this, with European settlers bringing such games along with them. The popularised games from Europe, such as Blackjack or Roulette, easily made their way to the shores of Australia, and were being readily played long before the first casinos were built.

It’s true to say that gambling in Australia is at the highest rate in the world, with over 80% of adults participating in such. Because of this, gambling is a significant public health issue. Figures have been released in previous years showing around 80,000 – 160,000 adults in the country experiencing strong problems from gambling and a further 250,000 – 350,000 experiencing moderate risks that could expand and make them vulnerable to problem gambling.

The Australian state with the biggest love affair for gambling is New South Wales, which has a long history of gambling. In fact, Australia’s first official horse racing meeting occurred in 1810 at Hyde Park in Sydney. Following this, the first official lottery in the country occurred in 1881 at the Sydney Cup, and registered clubs operated the first legal poker machines in the same area from 1956. Approximately 95,800 of ‘pokies’ are located in New South Wales, a state total which is only beaten by Nevada, United States.

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The Online Story

Since the introduction of online casinos and gambling websites, the growth of interest in such has further expanded across the Australian territory. As such, the Interactive Gambling Act 2001 was passed by the Australian Commonwealth Parliament on 28th June that year, receiving assent only a couple of weeks later. This Act is targeted towards online gambling operators, making it an offence for them to offer real-money online interactive gambling to residents of the country. It also makes it illegal for such games to be advertised to citizens. However, despite this being in place, the amount spent on online gaming by Australians reached roughly $800 million by 2010. The act of accessing online gambling services is not an offence though, so any gamers do have the possibility of placing wagers on their favourite games, regardless of whether the services are offered from within country or outside of it, in a completely legal way.

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Licences and Regulations

Netent products are offered at a range of online casinos within Australia, although they do need to be fully licensed in order to operate and provide such games. Since the introduction of new gambling services, including the online version of casino and gaming sites, the Commonwealth has taken a more active role in the regulation of the sector. It is, however, regulated by State and Territory authorities, which are:

  • Australian Capital Territory – ACT Gambling and Racing Commission
  • New South Wales – New South Wales Office of Liquor, Gaming and Racing
  • Northern Territory – Licensing Commission
  • Queensland – Office of Liquor and Gaming Regulation
  • South Australia – Independent Gambling Authority
  • Tasmania – Tasmanian Gaming Commission
  • Victoria – Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation
  • Western Australia – Department of Racing, Gaming and Liquor

Each of these state bodies offer up their own selection of regulations and licences, pertaining to various different sectors of gaming. These includes Casino Regulation, Gaming Machines, Lotteries, Racing and Wagering, Hotel Gaming Licences, Club Gaming Licences, Bookmakers and Foreign Games Permits, amongst others. Of course, laws and regulations are enforced by the Australian Government, but it is up to the Board of each of these regulatory authorities as to whether or not a person or persons receives a licence to offer gambling services.

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