Playing at Real Money Online Casinos in Australia
When it comes to gambling, Australia regularly comes out top of the international rankings. More people gamble, the spend per person is highest and more bars include pokies (slots) and sports betting than anywhere else!
Legally, there are no restrictions for individual citizens when it comes to online casino gaming. The casino operators are covered by a 2001 act which prohibits them advertising and accepting wagers from Australians. This means that the casinos offering games in Australia are based outside the country. Famous Australian slot manufacturer Aristocrat offers games in bars, though online they are only able to offer their games outside of Australia.
This page gives you all you need to know about Australian online casinos in one place. First of all you will find an overview of the law and the Interactive Gambling Act. After that a look at how payment processing works with Australian banks and casinos. After that some information on how Australians can take the huge range of options available to them and decide on which casino to play at.
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Australian Casinos and the Law
You’ll find politicians regularly bringing up the prospect of new gambling legislation – usually around election time. However, as things stand the act that matters is the Interactive Gambling Act of 2001.
The most important factor for individuals is that this act does not prohibit individual players from enjoying online casinos for real money at all. Like the UIGEA in the US, the IGA is squarely aimed at the gambling site operators. It makes it illegal for them to offer games or to advertise their casinos to Australians.
Unlike the UIGEA, this act has not stopped the big regulated casino brands from the UK and Europe from offering games. In fact many (though not all) of them allow Australian players without any restrictions from their jurisdictions including Malta, Gibraltar and Alderney.
While the size and reputation of the brands provides protection for players, it should be noted that there is little in the way of regulatory recourse in case of a dispute with an operator. The IGA does not affect payments, with the main services and credit card brands all facilitating gambling transactions.
Payment Processing for Australian Casinos
Despite the operators officially not being allowed to offer real money casino games to Australians – the full range of deposit options are available.
The most popular is simply to use your debit or credit card in the same way as making any other online purchase. These will be international transactions, though will not be blocked at the payment gateways like many US deposits. Visa and MasterCard are both used, and prepaid cards are an alternative option for players who prefer to keep casino transactions off of their bank statement or do not have a card of their own.
International eWallets like Skrill and Neteller also operate in Australia. These are virtual accounts that allow you hold money in-between your bank and the casinos. There are small fees involved in the transactions, however the benefits of security and the ability to move money between casinos quickly make up for this. eWallets are very popular, and can be used to make purchases at many online merchants in addition to their use in funding your casino account. There are local systems which provide the same ‘in the middle’ benefits as the eWallets – Poli Casino is the best known of these for Australian players.
Choosing the Best Australian Casinos
There are decent choice of online casinos offering real money games to Australian players. To get the best experience, you’ll need to narrow down your options. This should start with the games and pokies on offer, though considerations like ongoing player promos and speed of cash-outs are also significant.
Most casinos do not create their own games, licensing these from 3rd party software houses like MicroGaming, PlayTech or Net Entertainment. In the past, casinos only had the games from one of these software houses – and you needed to download this to your PC in order to play. Now that casinos mostly operate without a download, you will find the games from several software houses at many casino brands. When choosing an Australian online casino, it can pay to look out for brands with a selection of 100’s of games from different providers. This way you will be able to enjoy the top picks from each without the trouble of setting up new accounts.
Licensing from reputable jurisdictions, external testing of game fairness and a lack of major scandals are a must-see before depositing at any online casino. I recommend you also look at the payments history of any online casino you plan on playing at. Delays or disputes when it comes to cashing out are a red flag – there are plenty of operators that take pride in fast and efficient cash outs.
Finally, the bonuses and rewards are a significant differentiator between the casinos. Make sure you don’t get blinded by the headlines of ‘200%’ or ’10 bonuses’ without looking into the details of how each bonus works.
Checking is quick and easy once you know what you are looking out for. The key factors are the play-through requirements (how many times you’ll need to wager your bonus before it can be cashed out) and restrictions on certain games. Most casinos will put a weighting on their table games, so that bonuses are slower to clear with these. A quick comparison between 2 casinos will show you that bonuses that look identical can in fact be very different.