Gambling in a number of different forms has become an insanely popular pastime for Australians with online poker being one of the leading options. Thanks to the rather liberal laws pertaining to the online poker and online gambling industry, the activities have been able to thrive. In fact, it would be safe to say that the online poker boom in the country is now in full swing.
Here is a list of the best legal online poker sites in Australia for September 2020:
- 1 Ignition Poker
- 2 Juicy Stakes
- 3 What Is the Interactive Gaming Act?
- 4 The Interactive Gambling Amendment Bill
- 5 Finding the Best Legal Poker Sites in Australia
- 6 Overview
Ignition PokerMost Reliable
- Generous Welcome Bonus
- Huge Playerbase
- Amazing Platform Software
However, as good as things have gotten for the industry, the gambling operators as well as the poker players, this was not always the case. Fortunately, the online poker operators and other stakeholders in the gaming industry were able to find workarounds and now Aussie players have access to a number of legal online poker sites including:
- Ignition Casino Poker Room
- William Hill Poker
- Americas Cardroom
The existence of all these outstanding legal online poker sites in Australia is enough proof that online poker is truly coming back to the land down under. As such, the country’s residents can indulge in online poker action at whichever of the listed sites without worrying about being prosecuted. Moreover, Australians are even allowed to play on poker sites that are located in other jurisdictions and they are able to perform financial transactions without any problems. That said, it may be a little surprising for some people that there are questions regarding the legality of the activity. Well, there is a good reason for that, and it starts with the Interactive Gambling Act (IGA).
What Is the Interactive Gaming Act?
Dating all the way back to 2001, the Interactive Gambling Act (IGA) was aimed at preventing online gambling operators in Australia from accepting bets from Aussie players as well as ensuring that both the local and international or foreign gambling operators were not able to advertise their services in the country. The IGA was officially passed in June of 2001 by the Australian Commonwealth Parliament before going forward to receive assent in July of the same year.
Unsurprisingly, this piece of legislation turned out to be ineffective and therefore offshore online gambling operators were still able to exploit a number of loopholes that allowed them to keep serving Aussie gamblers. This went on until, in 2017, when the Interactive Gambling Amendment Bill was passed – the amendment effectively firmed up the language of the original 2001 law thus preventing the offshore gaming providers from continuing to offer their services to Australians.
The Interactive Gambling Amendment Bill
Proposed by the country’s Minister for Human Services in 2016, the amendment bill seeks to close all the loopholes in the Interactive Gambling Act of 2001. The amendment brought a plethora of changes to the gaming market in Australia after it was passed in 2017 and key among them was the ban on online poker and casino games or sites that had not been licensed by the country’s government.
Did It Work?
Well, now more than ever, the legality of online poker in the country remains in a state of flux following the passage of the Interactive Gambling Amendment Bill – this is despite the fact that the amendment was meant to clear up the ambiguity and vagueness that punched loopholes in the 2001 Interactive Gambling Act. Now, while it is possible that the state and territorial governments, which are responsible for the gambling regulations, achieved their goals to prohibit the provision and advertisement of real money interactive gambling services to the country’s citizens, it did consider some other implications.
As such, for Australians, accessing and using online poker sites is not illegal. In other words, it is perfectly legal for Aussie poker enthusiasts to play at foreign-based online poker sites without any fear of the government trying to stop them. Instead, the online poker operators are the ones that are targeted by the Australian governments and they risk being slapped with fines of over $1 million if their violations of the gambling law are ascertained to be severe enough.
On the same note, one of the supposed aims of the Interactive Gambling Act was the protection of Australian residents from the potentially harmful effects of online gambling. As mentioned above, there is no clause in the bill that outlaws the access and use of gambling services from online poker sites and casino. Technically, this implies that participating in online gambling is completely legal in Australia – it is only the provision and advertisement of such services that is frowned upon. To make things even more complicated is the fact that there are literally hundreds or even thousands of offshore online poker operators that gladly cater to Australian players.
Naturally, restricting the players from playing online poker is most likely to drive the gambling activity underground as we have seen in a number of countries were gamblers are not allowed to play. It goes without saying that this is definitely neither a perfect nor an ideal situation especially for the online poker players simply because their choices of sites are quite limited. Still, the consolation is that, compared to several other jurisdictions all around the world, Aussie online poker players have access to a decent selection of online poker rooms to play at. There may be a few shortcomings with regards to the number of games that are available since some big online poker titles are missing, but most gamers have been able to survive without them.
All things considered, it will not be surprising at all if the country decides to regulate online poker in the near future. By doing so, the players will be able to access more and even better gambling sites while the government will be able to benefit from increased tax revenue from the online poker sites. Furthermore, the regulatory authorities, as well as the state and territorial governments, will have much more control over the activity.
As it stands, there has not been any substantial legislative move towards a future with regulated online poker. According to a parliamentary report from October 2017, if that was to be considered, any steps taken towards such a future should be pursued cautiously and strong measures must be included to protect all the consumers. Meanwhile, Aussie poker players can settle for the freedom that they’re currently enjoying as they wait for lawmakers to make a decision that will hopefully favor the beloved game.
Finding the Best Legal Poker Sites in Australia
When it comes to the online poker sites that you should play at, it is always best to stick to recommended sites – such as the ones listed on this site for Aussie poker players. Nevertheless, the whole point of having access to the internet is being able to make choices based on your own tastes and preferences. Even so, finding a great online casino especially in the case where there are legal ambiguities involved can be very tasking, to say the least, unless of course, you have the right pointers on what exactly to keep an eye out for. So, here are some of the things that you and your fellow Aussie online poker players should keep in mind when surfing the internet for poker sites.
Legal Gambling Jurisdictions
As you may have gathered as you were going through this article, perhaps the biggest setback of the Interactive Gambling is the fact that the online poker websites that are currently available for Aussie players are not regulated. Therefore, the players are not able to get any recourse from the country’s competent and reputable gambling authorities in case any issue comes up in the course of the gambling activities. That said, the players have to be very careful when choosing online poker sites.
In fact, the only way to be sure that the poker site you have chosen is reputable and safe is to check if it is licensed in any of the legal gambling jurisdictions. These include:
Gibraltar Gambling Commission – This licensing authority has a great reputation in the world of online gambling which means that the sites licensed by it can be trusted and in case any issue arises, it will be handled appropriately.
United Kingdom Gambling Commission – Known for having some of the most solid and robust industry-defining set of standards for online poker platforms, this authority definitely only associates with reputable and trustworthy online gambling platforms.
Isle of Man Casino Control Commission – The body is known for its high standards and no-nonsense approach when it comes to the licensing of online gambling sites. You will not go wrong with any of its sites.Alderney Gambling Commission – Even though it is not nearly as popular as the licensing bodies listed above, this gambling authority certainly has what it takes. In fact, it has issued online gambling licenses to some of the world’s leading online poker sites.
Currency and Financial Transactions
Since all of the online poker sites that Aussie players have access to are offshore, one of the worries that many of these players have is whether their Australian dollars are valid options for banking at the poker sites. Well, a decent number of the sites allow players to make deposits and withdrawals using Australian dollars – these sites automatically convert the funds to and from US dollars or whichever currency they use by default. This makes deposits and withdrawals a breeze for all players.
As for deposit methods, the very best ones are those that are acknowledged as legitimate by the country’s government. There are, of course, a number of these available and players need to make sure that they choose the most convenient, accessible and reliable ones. Fortunately, most, if not all of them are quite easy to handle for both deposits and withdrawals. Some of the most popular ones include:
Licensing information pretty much covers safety and security concerns while the payment methods ensure a smooth gaming experience. However, it does not stop there. Players still have to put many other things into consideration when finding legal online poker sites in Australia. These will include such aspects as bonuses & promotions, the range of games available, the software providers and even the available tournaments. With those covered, you are assured of nothing short of an outstanding online poker experience.
Australia currently boasts one of the highest gambling rates on the planet with close to 80 percent of the population engaging in one form of gambling or the other. Online poker has been a huge part of this, and it is not showing signs of slowing down any time soon. Fortunately, the poker players have nothing to worry about as they are not committing any crime whatsoever by enjoying online poker at their favorite online poker sites. Meanwhile, we can wait and hope that the Australian government eventually warms up to the idea of regulating the activity. The sooner the better.