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Australian Poker Sites – Legal Aspects

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Many people are confused on the laws pertaining to the legality of playing poker online in the country of Australia. Since 2001 the laws have changed and have made an impact on the gaming world in all the territories of the country. Australia has had a funny history when it comes to legal and illegal poker and online gambling and the landscape is forever changing.

This article will explain the law and answer the most import questions poker players need to ask about playing poker online. This site is dedicated to helping players from across the country know their rights so that they can play online without having to worry about the laws. Below we will answer some of the questions about playing poker in Australia and then give you a bit of history about the game.

Is Poker Playing Legal in Australia?

In short, the answer is yes. Australian residents are allowed to play online at any online poker site they choose and will not face criminal persecution. The players can also play on poker sites that are located in many different countries and are allowed to withdraw and deposit funds according to each sites method for depositing and withdrawing funds. Players will not get in trouble for playing online as any laws that Australia has does not pertain to poker players but rather operators.

What is the IGA?

In 2001 the Interactive Gambling Act (IGA) was passed by the Parliament for the purpose of protecting the Australian public from the detrimental effects of gambling online. The IGA does not target specific online players in Australia, but rather focuses on gambling operators and makes it a crime for the site you play on to offer real money gaming. It is also illegal for operators to advertise real money games in the state of Australia.

This law pertains to both overseas and in house companies that allow online Australians to their site to play. Companies that are operating in Australia face fines up to $220,000 per day for individuals and up to $1.1 million for companies. As stated above, the Australian people do not get any penalty for playing online poker at any time unless they change the law, which is very unlikely.

What Sites Accept Online Player from Australia?

All of the sites we have listed and reviewed allow for Australians to play on their sites. The companies don’t seem to mind as they are off shore companies with their holdings in counties like Antigua, Kanawake (a Canadian Reserve) and other tax havens. Check out Titan Poker, 888 Poker, Party Poker and Full Tilt Poker which are all companies that accept Australian Poker Players. Check out the online reviews of each company on our site.

Why don’t I see Advertising for Poker Sites?

As noted above the IGA made it a crime to publicly advertise online poker playing. Companies cannot access Australian servers and cannot advertise directly to the public. There are some companies that do but it is not as common place as it is in other countries. Now that we have talked about all the legal aspects of playing poker in Australia we will now discuss some of the Gaming History.

Australian Online Poker History

For the most part, playing poker in Australia has become very popular. Settlers from the UK came to Australia with a very lengthy history. Games such as Blackjack, Card Games and Poker became very popular in the 1950’s and the growth of the industry moved to live casinos opening up in the 1970’s.

As the popularity of poker rooms grew so did the laws that were set to maintain it. The Australian Government was concerned that too many people had become addicted to online gambling as some numbers indicated that over 75% of the population had gambled in some form or another. This is when they implemented the IGA in June of 2001, which punished online gamers from advertising and accepting Australian poker players.

Fighting the IGA

Online Casinos and Poker rooms in Australia and around the world continue to fight the right to operate in Australia. The law is much more lenient then the 2006 law that was passed in the US where some operators were arrested for operating to US players.  Most of the Offshore companies don’t even bother with the law as it is not really enforced and the accept players online.

There are advocates out there that argue that poker rooms and online poker should just become legal for the companies as the law is not really enforced and companies are not held responsible anyway. Players should still keep their ears open for any upcoming changes in legislation.


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