Interactive Gambling Act
The IGA is targeted at online gambling operators and makes it an offence for them to offer ‘real-money’ online interactive gambling to residents of Australia. It also makes it illegal for online gambling operators to advertise ‘real-money’ interactive gambling services (such as online poker and casino) to Australian citizens.
Accessing and using the interactive gambling services is not an offence. It is also allowed to companies based in Australia to offer their gambling services to gamblers located outside Australia with the exception of those countries that were called 'designated countries'. A country can be called designated upon request of the government of this country and on condition that there is corresponding legislation in this country.
- The law applies to all interactive gambling operators whether they are Australian or foreign owned or whether they are based in Australia or offshore.
- The offence of offering Interactive Gambling Services to Australian residents carries a maximum fine of $220,000 per day for individuals within an Interactive Gambling operation or $1.1 million per day for the actual company.
- The responsibility of upholding the IGA is the responsibility of individual gambling operators. The average Australian citizen cannot be punished for signing up and gambling online.
An offence will not be deemed to have been committed if the online gambling operator could not, with due diligence, have known that they were offering their services to residents of Australia. The IGA defines 'reasonable diligence' in the following ways:
- Whether the operator informed potential customers about the law preventing operators offering Interactive Gambling services to Australian residents.
- Whether a customer's contracts with the online gambling operators stated that the customer could not use the service whilst physically present in Australia
- Whether the customers had to provide personal details such as address and whether the customers' details suggested whether they were residents of Australia
There is some leniency in the Interactive Gambling Act that means not all online gambling was prohibited. For example sports betting through licensed operators is still legal as long as the betting occurs prior to the sporting event starting – this way the individual is not gambling 'interactively'. Online lotteries are also legal according to the Act, as long as they are not the 'instant-win' style scratch cards.
The IGA made it an offence to advertise an interactive gambling service or product - the advertising ban extended across all forms of media (from electronic to print).
The IGA has a formal complaints process that is managed by the Australian Broadcasting Authority in which people can register any concerns regarding the advertising of Interactive gambling products.
On 24 August 2011, the Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, Senator Stephen Conroy, released a discussion paper for the review of the Interactive Gambling Act 2001. The main reasons for reviewing the document are:
- the expansion of online gambling market and the possibility of subsequent growth of problem gambling
- the adequacy of the provisions of the Act to the emerging new technologies
- the necessity to develop an approach to minimisation of negative aspects of online gambling
- the necessity to analyse social, financial and jurisdictional aspects of interactive gambling services in regulated environment
- the necessity to analyse the findings of the Joint Select Committee on Gambling Reform inquiry into interactive and online gambling and gambling advertising and the Productivity Commission Inquiry Report on Gambling
The final report has to be presented by the first half of 2012, subject to the Joint Select Committee on Gambling Reform reporting by the end of 2011.
- Interactive Gambling Act Receives Assent
- Interactive Gambling Act 2001: Compilation
- Gambling Law
- Review of the Interactive Gaming Act 2001
- Law comes into effect
- Online Gambling in Australia
- Terms of reference for the review