Gambling Laws in Australia

Written by John Gold. Last updated:

There’s no overarching statute or authority that regulates gambling activities. However, the general online gambling policy in Australia is defined and regulated on the federal level by the Interactive Gambling Act 2001 (Cth) (IGA). Australian gambling industry is also regulated by the jurisdiction of Australian states and territories based on the principles outlined in the IGA. Each Australian state and territory is autonomous when it comes to regulating land-based gambling and betting within their own jurisdictions.

The Role of States and Territories in Regulating Gambling

All Australian states and territories regulate gambling activities, including poker machines, casinos, lotteries and online gambling, within their jurisdictions. However, federal statutes also affect certain aspects of gambling throughout Australia. The federal government of Australia is allowed to regulate telecommunications, money, and trade among the states and territories. This makes it possible for them to also have power over gambling, anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing (AML/CTF) and consumer and competition protections (also known as anti-trust matters in some other jurisdictions). Below, you’ll find information about how these two levels influence the gambling industry for Aussie players.


State/Territory Level

Local government representatives in most states and territories also participate in regulating gambling from a local government and town planning perspective. They have a say when it comes to regulation of gaming machines and their operation within their district.

The Victorian Gambling and Casino Control Commission (VGCCC) takes the role of Vic’s independent gambling authority, being responsible for licensing and regulatory oversight. The Office of Liquor and Gaming is a part of Vic’s Department of Justice and Community Safety, being responsible for such gambling aspects as policy, legislation, regulation, and licensing.

Liquor and Gaming New South Wales (L&GNSW) is responsible for gambling policy and licensing. Other than that, gambling field in NSW is also regulated by Liquor and Gaming Authority (ILGA), that regulates gaming machines and alcohol range provided in land-based casinos. The NSW Independent Casino Commission (NICC) is responsible for regulating casinos in NSW.

The Queensland Office of Liquor and Gaming Regulation (QOLGR) is responsible for licensing and regulation. Office of Regulatory Policy (QORP) takes responsibility for alcohol regulation, gaming and fair trading. They also provide programs aimed at reducing harm in the gambling and liquor industries.

The Gambling and Racing Commission, under the Minister for Racing and Gaming, is responsible for licensing and controlling all gambling and racing activities in the territory.

The Consumer and Business Services (CBS) takes care of regulation and licensing of betting, casinos, gaming machines and lotteries. Another gambling regulator is The Lotteries Commission of South Australia, main task of which is promoting and conducting lotteries in SA.

The Tasmanian Liquor and Gaming Commission (TLGC) is an autonomous gambling authority responsible for licensing and controlling regulatory compliance

 The Western Australian Department of Racing, along with Gaming and Liquor, is responsible for gambling aspects such as policy, licensing, and compliance.

The Northern Territory Racing Commission (NTRC) is mainly responsible for controlling regulatory compliance.


Federal Level

Below you’ll find information about the relevant regulatory authorities and a brief description of how they affect gambling in Australia:

Interactive gambling

Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) is the organisation that is primarily responsible for media and communications regulation throughout Australia. Their competence also includes controlling and implementing the regulation of gambling online and over the phone. The organisation has the to start legal action, inform border agencies about directors/principals of illegal offshore operators, and work with foreign regulators to stop offenders. ACMA oversees and ensures the enforcement of laws regarding interactive gambling. The law concerns such activities as online casinos, slot machines and poker, online betting services allowing in-play betting on live sports, online betting services with no licence, instant lotteries, as well as providing credits by certain online betting companies. These activities are prohibited by the interactive gambling laws.


Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing are regulated by The Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC). Certain gambling activities are categorized as “designated services” under the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Act 2006. It means that businessmen must register with AUSTRAC, have an anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing program, as well as report to them threshold transactions and suspicious activities. Not following these rules can lead to civil penalties and criminal charges.


The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) works under the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (Cth) (CCA) and is responsible for making sure Australian consumer protection laws are followed. When it comes to gambling, ACCC oversees gambling providers to ensure they follow the laws.

Gambling Problems in Australia

The reason behind Australian authorities closely monitoring the gambling industry is that gambling is a big problem in Australia. The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare states that gambling is a major threat to society, “affecting the health and wellbeing of individuals and families in a range of ways”. Let’s have a deeper look at the negative effects of gambling:

  • High gambling participation. Australia has one of the highest rates of gambling participation in the world. Gambling and sports betting are a big part of Australian culture. 
  • Underage gambling. Gambling among children and teenagers is becoming a rising issue in Australia. Gambling and betting advertisements, as well as the influence of their surroundings – family and friends, can influence children and potentially lead to their engagement in gambling activities. 
  • Negative effect on health. Gambling problems, in some cases, can negatively influence mental and physical health, potentially leading to depression or anxiety. 
  • Financial state. Gambling addiction can also be a threat to the financial state of people due to the inability to control spending.

As you may already know, there is no universal gambling law in Australia, besides several federal laws. Instead, each territory and state has the right to implement its own regulations. Therefore, the BetPokies team prepared a table with the main legislation of each state of our country.

Legal Jurisdiction Regulations
Federal Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Act 2006 (Cth);
Financial Transaction Reports Act 1988 (Cth);
Interactive Gambling Act 2001 (Cth).
Northern Territory Gaming Control Act 1993 (NT);
Gaming Machine Act 1995 (NT);
Racing and Betting Act 1983 (NT);
Unlawful Betting Act 1989 (NT);
Totalisator Licensing and Regulation Act 2000 (NT).
Western Australia Betting Control Act 1954 (WA);
Casino (Burswood Island) Agreement Act 1985 (WA);
Casino Control Act 1984 (WA);
Gaming and Betting (Contracts and Securities) Act 1985 (WA);
Gaming and Wagering Commission Act 1987 (WA);
Racing and Wagering Western Australia Act 2003 (WA); 
Racing Bets Levy Act 2009 (WA).
Tasmania Gaming Control Act 1993
South Australia Authorised Betting Operations Act 2000 (SA);
Gambling Administration Act 2019 (SA);
Casino Act 1997 (SA);
Gaming Machines Act 1992 (SA);
Lottery and Gaming Act 1936 (SA); 
State Lotteries Act 1966 (SA).
Australian Capital Territory Casino Control Act 2006 (ACT);
Gaming Machine Act 2004 (ACT);
Interactive Gambling Act 1998 (ACT);
Lotteries Act 1964 (ACT);
Pool Betting Act 1964 (ACT);
Race and Sports Bookmaking Act 2001 (ACT);
Racing Act 1999 (ACT);
Totalisator Act 2014 (ACT);
Unlawful Gambling Act 2009 (ACT).
Queensland  Breakwater Island Casino Agreement Act 1984 (Qld);
Brisbane Casino Agreement Act 1992 (Qld);
Cairns Casino Agreement Act 1993 (Qld);
Casino Control Act 1982 (Qld);
Charitable and Non-Profit Gaming Act 1999 (Qld);
Gaming Machine Act 1991 (Qld);
Interactive Gambling (Player Protection) Act 1998 (Qld);
Jupiters Casino Agreement Act 1983 (Qld);
Keno Act 1996 (Qld);
Lotteries Act 1997 (Qld);
Queen's Wharf Brisbane Act 2016 (Qld); 
Wagering Act 1998 (Qld).
New South Wales Betting and Racing Act 1998 (NSW);
Casino Control Act 1992 (NSW);
Community Gaming Act 2018 (NSW);
Gaming Machines Act 2001 (NSW);
Public Lotteries Act 1996 (NSW);
Unlawful Gambling Act 1998 (NSW); 
Totalizator Act 1997 (NSW).
Victoria Casino (Management Agreement) Act 1993 (Vic);
Casino Control Act 1991 (Vic); 
Gambling Regulation Act 2003 (Vic).

Major Gambling Reforms

Prohibition of Credit Card Usage

Since 2021, Australian gamblers are not allowed to use credit cards as a deposit or withdrawal method in any licensed online casino. The ban includes transactions made directly via credit cards and electronic wallets. Note that lottery services are not subject to the prohibition, as they are considered a low-risk gambling activity.

The National Consumer Protection Framework for Online Wagering

The National framework consists of 10 Measures designed to empower individuals and reduce the harm from online gambling activity. 

  • Measure 1: Prohibition of lines of credit. Gambling websites are prohibited from providing credits to their customers.
  • Measure 2: Payday lenders. In order to protect consumers, the framework prohibits providing small amounts of credit contracts, also known as payday lenders, for online gambling.
  • Measure 3: Customer verification. The reform of the verification process lies in changing the timeframes. Therefore, gamblers have only 3 days to verify their identity and age from the moment of registration in a casino, and before they make a deposit.
  • Measure 4: Restriction of inducements. Gambling operators cannot offer any incentives to register in a casino.
  • Measure 5: Account closure. Online casinos cannot encourage players to keep their accounts open and have to provide all the necessary information on how to close them. 
  • Measure 6: Voluntary opt-out pre-commitment scheme. Gambling sites must offer players the opportunity to set limits on depositing. 
  • Measure 7: Activity statements. In order to increase gamblers' awareness of their spending, wins and losses, the activity statements are sent monthly.
  • Measure 8: Consistent gambling messaging. Online gambling providers must acquire gamblers with the potential dangers of gambling activity. The messaging must be universal for every gambling site and can be in the form of advertisements, websites, direct marketing, etc. 
  • Measure 9: Staff training. The staff working in the gambling industry must undertake a course of responsible service of online betting.
  • Measure 10: National self-exclusion register. BetStop is a service that provides self-exclusion from all interactive gambling services for Aussie gamblers. After a simple and fast registration process, users can set a minimum self-exclusion period of 3 months.

Prohibited Online Gambling Activities

The Interactive Gambling Act 2001 set regulatory laws for Australian operators and gamblers. The act prohibits such forms of gambling:

  • Online gambling services, including poker, are not legal and cannot obtain a licence in Australia.
  • Betting on sports events is prohibited unless a licensed telephone operator provides the betting services.

Permitted Forms of Online Gambling

According to Australian gambling regulations, offshore real money casinos aren’t regulated by the Australian government. Therefore, gambling on sites licensed outside of Australia is legal. Note that for your own security, the casino must have a licence from a reputable authority, like the UK and Malta.

Obtaining an online gambling licence in Australia is mostly impossible. The only exception is the Northern Territory, where you can get a licence for sports betting sites. Operators must adhere to responsible gambling measures, including conducting identity and age verification and implementing responsible gambling tools, such as self-exclusion, time, deposit and loss limits etc. Online lotteries and keno games are subject to the same requirements.

Interesting fact that skill-required games, such as poker and baccarat, usually are not considered gambling games unless they involve betting.

History of Gambling in Australia


The first mention of gambling was connected to horse racing, which took place in Hyde Park in Sydney. It was way much harder to win a bet back then, as it was organised slightly differently compared to horse racings we can spectate and bet on today. The competition was divided into three days, and each day all the horses had to run two miles. The horse whose performance was the best for all three days combined was considered the winner.


The next form of betting on horse racing was the lottery. The first lottery in Australia was organised in Sydney by Tattersall's, a private company founded by George Adams. With time, it became a national institution, overcoming gambling prohibitions through an agreement with the Tasmanian government. In 1954, the company moved to Melbourne, where it continued to grow, especially with the introduction of Tattslotto televised draws in 1972.


The appearance of the first slot machines. By 1956, they could be found everywhere: in gambling houses, cafes, and bars.


Opening of the first land-based casino. Casinos were previously banned in Australia as they were considered destructive to society and difficult to control by the state. The opening of the first Australian land-based casino, the Wrest Point hotel-casino, was a big deal for Australians as it was broadcast nationally. The authorities’ motives behind finally legalising casinos are quite clear – the country needed to increase the financial inflow from the tourism sector.


The beggining of the centure was marked by implementing of the International Gambling Act 2001. However, the amount of gamblers kept growing and in the mid-2000s the annual participation rate in gambling activity reached 64% on average.


The Australian Institute of Family Studies discovered that over 6.5 million Australians were engaged in gambling activity, and the monthly expenditure of gamblers on casinos amounted to $8.6 billion


Australia is one of the most popular among players in the world. The largest gaming complex is Crown Entertainment – it has over 350 gambling tables and 5000 pokies machines. Australia is also one of the leaders in online gambling.

John Gold

John Gold


Starting as a typical gambler, I was interested in how the industry works. And now, for more than 10 years, I see myself as a gambling expert. After trying out more than 500 pokies, I'm ready to share my insights and tell you what you need to look at to get a good gaming experience.