Australians have always been fascinated by sports betting and although this kind of activities were considered illegal until the 1980s, the harsh rules and regulations did not prevent Australians from wagering on their favourite sports. Since then, sports betting has been allowed through licensed operators and FootyTAB. The year 1996 saw the legalization of online sports betting in the Northern Territory and later on, it was declared legal in the other states.
Today, sports betting is a prominent industry with a tendency for further expansion. More than 50% of the sports wagers are placed online. Australians are allowed to wager from the comfort of their homes and take advantage of the services of many operators available on the market.
Back in 2008, the Australian High Court lifted the ban, imposed on the bookmakers that deterred them from advertising their services in a jurisdiction they are not licensed to operate in. This further boosted the revival of the sports betting industry and as a result, bookies entered into commercial marketing agreements with prominent corporate bookmakers.
According to avid sports fans, the National Rugby league and the Australian Football League events are the most popular in Australia and they generate huge annual revenues. In point of fact, sports betting laws have been repeatedly amended during the years. Depending on the state you are based in, you have to adhere to different sports betting rules and regulations.
Relevant Legislative Framework
As mentioned above, online sports betting is legal in Australia but each of the ten states has its own betting rules. Every state also has its own gambling commission.
Australian Capital Territory
The Gambling and Racing Commission is in charge of the sports betting activities that take place on the territory of the Australian Capital Territory. Online casinos in the region were legalized in 1998 but this was overridden by the Commonwealth law dating back to 2001.
Currently, there are no remote operators holding a license to operate in the Australian Capital Territory. However, punters are legally allowed to take part in lotteries, horse racing and sports betting activities available at brick and mortar venues.Although the legislative matters need to be ironed out, the Commission has approved of some pretty favourable players’ rules.
New South Wales
All forms of gambling on the territory of New South Wales are monitored and regulated by the Office of Liquor, Gaming and Racing. The most popular company that has obtained a licence from the authorities was Tabcorp although there are some smaller bookmakers that are also legally allowed to operate.
However, the region is not quite appealing for international operators because of the tough rules and regulations.
Norfolk Island is a self-governing part of the Australian Commonwealth and as such, it is considered a tax haven. Some gambling authorities questioned the safety of the sports betting activities in the region and raised concerns over the reliability of the operators issued a license by the Norfolk Island Gambling Commission.
It would not be premature to say that the Northern Territory has a long history as far as sports betting activities are concerned. The state gambling commission is known as the authority that has issued the first Australian bookmaker licence to Centrebet. In point of fact, the Northern Territory Licensing Commission was formed in February 2000 as a merger between the Escort Agency Licensing Board, Gaming Control Commission, Private Security Licensing Authority, Liquor Commission and Gaming Machine Commission. The Northern Territory Licensing Commission oversees all forms of gambling within the state borders. It is also famous for being really strict when it comes to issuing a license.
The Office of Liquor and Gaming Regulation is responsible for monitoring all forms of gambling activities in Queensland Australia. However, the region is not an appealing destination for operators because of the high tax rates they have to pay.. However, the lack of many sports betting options in Queensland is not a setback for passionate punters who are free to place their wagers with operators licensed to provide services in other states.
The Lotteries Commission enabled South Australian residents to wager on lottery and horse racing tote. It was not until 1995 when private gambling was legalized. As a result, the current gambling commission known as the Independent Gambling Authority was established.
To cut the long story short, betting on the territory of South Australia is allowed on grounds that the bettor uses the services of an authorized betting operator. It is important to note that punters are not eligible for receiving any special bonuses or taking advantage of bookies’ promotions.
Although Tasmania is the smallest Australian state, it is commonly recognised as the gambling trend setter. Speaking of online betting in particular, it was legalized once the Gaming Control Act 1993 passed. The Tasmanian Gambling Commission is in charge of all gambling affairs on the territory of the state.
The Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation is the gambling regulator overseeing the gambling activities in Victoria. The commission takes pride in being really well ran. All licensees go through a thorough verification process before being given the nod to operate. Similarly to the South Australian Commission, the Victorian Commission has prohibited bookmakers from taking advantage of free spins, bonuses and promotions.
Western Australia was among the states that fiercely opposed gambling legislation. The Western Australian Police Act 1892 declared betting activities illegal. However, the Lotteries Control Act of 1936 legalized charitable lotteries. The Betting Control Act 1954 and the Totalisator Agency Board Betting Act 1960 were the two pieces of legislation that allowed Western Australians to take advantage of horse race betting and charitable bingo games.
Today, the Department of Racing, Gaming and Liquor regulates all forms of gambling and players can find comprehensive information about the available operators on the regulator’s website.
Interactive Gambling Act (2001) – IGA
The Interactive Gambling Act came into force in 2001 and it made it impossible for Australian companies to provide gambling-related products and services such as bingo, casino games, poker.
However, the IGA did not take a stance on online sports betting and horse racing activities and the matter remained a responsibility of state authorities. In other words, every state decides whether to legalize sports betting or not. However, the in-play betting is prohibited.The Australian Commonwealth Parliament passed the Interactive Gambling act with the aim of protecting the vulnerable part of the population. Operators were prohibited from advertising any real money services.
At the dawn of online betting, there was not an Australian Commonwealth law related to it. The first online casino was granted a license in 1997 and two years later, it was accessible for users based in the Northern Territory.
At that time, online gambling was legal on the Northern Territory only but the Commonwealth Government took a final stance on the matter in 2001 when the Interactive Gambling Act was passed. However, operators that have already been present on the market retained the right to provide their products and services.
The Interactive Gambling Act did not stop passionate players from taking advantage of online gambling activities provided by foreign operators. Basically, these operators are illegal but the Australian authorities have no influence on them since they operate under a different jurisdiction. However, there is another side of the coin. Australian gambling officials cannot impose penalties to foreign operators. In other words, if you have been unfairly treated or you spotted a violation, you cannot ask your state gambling commission for help. That’s why it is essential to establish accounts with operators, licensed by a trustworthy European jurisdiction and certified by strict and reliable auditors.
Speaking of the impact IGA had on the online sports and horse race betting, the Act allowed each state to decide as to whether to legalize sports betting or not. Yet, the IGA made live in-play betting illegal as it is regarded as highly addictive.
As far as sports betting is concerned, Australian laws are pretty liberal. However, in most states, the advertising of any gambling or sports betting related products is prohibited.
In brief, gambling activities are widespread in Australia and most of them are legal. Yet, operators have to adhere to certain restrictions. For instance, Australian operators cannot provide online pokies although players can legally play pokies on foreign markets. Australian residents must be at least 18 years old in order to be allowed to legally take part in online and offline sports betting and casino games.
Popular Sports to Bet on
You might not be surprised to know that some of the sports popular in Australia, are little known around the world and vice versa. The regional differences are also worthy of mentioning.
For example, Rugby League is extremely popular in Sydney, while Melbourne-based punters are keen on Australian football. Yet, it can be concluded that overall, the sport punters most frequently bet on is Aussie Rules football. Golf, cricket, horse racing, motor sports and tennis are also popular among Australians.
Australia-based punters are enabled to use the so-called Australian wallet. They are given two account wallets. The fist one can be used for wagering on sports and racing events, while the main wallet is for wagering on international sport and racing events. The Tasmanian Gaming Commission oversees all wagers placed via the Australian wallet system. Users can easily make money transfers between the two wallets. Betfair performs well in total score betting, head to head and line betting but it is praised mainly for futures betting and margins. The margins depend on the level of participation in each market, which makes them pretty erratic.
Betfair users place wagers mainly on football, horse racing events and tennis although the bookie covers a great number of markets. The Interactive Gambling Act does not allow Australians to take advantage of live online betting, so punters must phone in order to make a live bet. Betfair is also associated with the excellent liquidity, correct score odds and the broad range of sports available.
William Hill has managed to become one of the most competitive bookies on the market over a relatively short period of time.
William Hill has been the favourite bookmaker of horse racing fans as it ensures punters get the best tote price. Payouts are fast and secure and the best of all is that William Hill customers access some special markets that offer increased odds and as a result, their regular price is doubled.
Apart from the racebook, William Hill features an impressive range of AFL, NRL, Super Rugby, cricket and provides users with the opportunity to bet on international events.
Pinnacle is, without a doubt, one of the most reputable bookmakers not only in Australia but on a global scale. The sports betting section is user-friendly and for most NRL and AFL fixtures, Pinnacle users are enabled to take advantage of head to head, line and total points markets. Pinnacle gives you the chance to bet on a huge number of football leagues. Overall, the bookmaker is said to be among the most reliable ones, offering great odds and margins as well as a decent diversity of international sports to wager on. However, if you are more into wagering on domestic sports, Pinnacle might not be the best betting spot for you. On the downside, the bookie does not feature a racebook.
An XML feed for the Pinnacle Sports odds can be accessed as well. This is considered a great feature that enables punters to keep themselves informed about the odds fluctuations at any time.
You are not likely to find many promotions on Pinnacle’s website but the incredible odds compensate for that. The bookmaker accepts arbitrage betting and punters have extremely high betting limits. The number of payment processors is also decent. However, some punters dislike the fact that Pinnacle is focused mainly on head-to-head, total and line score markets.
bet365 is a prominent bookmaker available on the Australian gambling market and regulated by the Northern Territory Racing Commission. Apart from casino games, poker and bingo, bet365 also offers sports betting options as well as a racebook. However, the legislative matters on the Australian gambling market do not allow residents to take advantage of poker, bingo, as well as in-play services, provided by the bookmaker.
The fact that bet365 holds an Australian license has its advantages. First of all, punters can use POLi as a deposit method. They can also optimize the time it takes for a withdrawal procedure to complete.
Various surveys suggest that the average bet365 margin is 4.8%, which is 0.1% below the surveys median. No matter if you are an experienced punter or not, you must be well aware that the lower the margin, the better.
As far as the variety of betting markets is concerned, bet365 is not likely to disappoint you. The bookie covers a great number of football markets as well as all sports, popular in Australia.
What makes bet365 stand out from the rest is the racebook it offers. Punters are delighted by the great variety of local and international horse racing events to wager on. As for the setbacks, bet365 no longer offers live betting due to the fact that it is a licensee of the Northern Territory gambling authorities.
Ladbrokes has been available in Australia since 2013 and over the years, it managed to achieve recognition and to become a leading bookmaker on the Australian sports betting scene. In point of fact, Ladbrokes acquired Bookmaker.com.au and made its grand entrance to the Australian sports betting market. Ladbrokes primarily focused on horse racing events. The website is also accessible via smartphones and tablets.
If you have previously used the Bookmaker.com.au services before, you should not have any issues with placing your wager at Ladbrokes. The bookmaker is also praised for offering the so-called “Pick Your Own Odds” feature that enables punters to get the best odds by picking the margin the horse will win by. In addition, Australia-based users of Ladbrokes are more than welcome to take advantage of the “Favourite vs Field” feature. The latter enables punters to back the entire field against the favourite in a majority of races.
Players also appreciate the simplicity of the website as well as the great variety of deposit and withdrawal options. Ladbrokes is famous for offering fast and secure payouts, especially when it comes to winnings generated via horse racing events.