If you asked the average person to name the country whose citizens spend the most money at online casinos, they might point to the UK, because of its history with horse racing and sports betting; the United States, because of Las Vegas and Atlantic City. Few would give Australia a second thought, yet the Land Down Under has some of the most dedicated gamblers in the world and wagers more per capita than any other country. It’s no surprise, therefore, that Australian casinos are big business, with all gambling brands wanting a piece of the action and with many casinos created solely to cater to this highly lucrative market.
Australians have roughly $1,260 in gambling losses per capita. On a list of the top 10 highest per capita gambling losses, it’s number 1, with twice as many losses as third-placed Ireland. Based on this, you might assume that online gambling is widely available and 100% legal in Australia, but that isn’t the case. In fact, according to the Interactive Gambling Act of 2001, it is illegal to offer “an interactive gambling service to customers in Australia” with “interactive” covering everything from slot machines to table games and more.
However, there is one major loophole here: This law doesn’t apply to companies registered outside of Australia. Simply put, an Australian company is not allowed to offer gambling services to Australian players and there are also restrictions preventing it from offering services to players in other countries. But these laws don’t include international companies that are licensed outside of Australia and offer services to players within it. In such cases, these companies are abiding by the rules and regulations of the country or countries in which they are regulated. There are also laws prohibiting gambling advertisements, if those advertisements are aimed at Australian consumers. The goal of the aforementioned gambling act is not to prevent money leaving the country or to force casinos to pay license fees. It’s designed purely to prevent problem gambling, which is a big issue in Australia.
Forget Vegas, Australia is the gambling capital of the world and when you play in a casino targeted toward Australia players you can benefit from all the following:
Australian online casinos, as mentioned above, aren’t actually based in Australia. They are often based in Europe and Central America and simply offer their services to Australian players.
Most of these casinos are safe, because they are backed by some of the biggest brands in the world. Even though Australian laws are a little ambiguous, it’s actually easier (and more lucrative) for a gambling brand to target this region than it is the UK, as the latter has a very strict and demanding regulator.
To make sure your chosen casino is safe, look for:
In Australia, it’s all about “pokies”, which is what slot machines are called Down Under. It’s believed that this term stems from “poker machine”, and that it was initially used to refer to video poker games, before becoming synonymous with all slot machines.
According to official statistics acquired by problem gambling organizations, 4% of the adult population of Australia plays pokies at least once every week. This is where a huge percentage of the aforementioned $1,260 is spent, and that figure seems to be on the rise.
This popular pastime is closely tied to Australian culture. Pokies have featured prominently in restaurants, bars, pubs, and pretty much everywhere else, and many Australians grew up playing these machines, often taking their first spins as soon as they were legally allowed to do so.
The internet made it easier to access pokies and gave players more choice than ever, which is why pokie activity has increased, and why it continues to reach all demographics. In addition to pokies, gamblers in Australia enjoy playing Poker. After all, this is the home of famous players like Joe Hachem, and it’s also where the massive Aussie Millions tournament is held.
As discussed above, Australia is one of the biggest gambling countries in the world and is more devoted to online casinos, sports betting, and card games than any other country. It may not have the bright lights of Las Vegas or the sheer number of betting shops and racetracks found in countries like the UK, but when it comes to slots or “pokies”, you’ll struggle to find a more dedicated nation.