Australia is one of the worlds leading sporting nations. The whole country revolves around sports such as rugby, Aussie rules, cricket, hockey, soccer and so many more. Sports betting is always going to be a pastime that is popular in countries where general sport participation is high, with Australia being no different.
There have been a few issues and confusions about where Australia sits in terms of betting legalities. As we are heavily part of the betting industry we have seen numerous bookmakers ban Australian users whilst others have embraced them. Admittedly, before conducting the research for this article we were puzzled as to why, but from the information we have gathered we can see that, not too dissimilar to the US market, a lot of confusion remains around betting in Australia.
Is online betting legal in Australia?
The act in placing a wager is Australia is not prohibited at all. There are no laws that state that you can’t place a bet on a horse race or similar prior to that event taking place. But, there is a ban in place to prevent the use of ‘real-money’ interactive gaming.
The definition of this is relatively simple in that the Australian Commonwealth Party who passed the Interactive Gambling Act in 2001 state that bookmakers cannot take bets on live events. This means that as soon as a race or match starts bookmakers are prohibited to take bets from punters.
One thing is worth noting is that whilst the government oversees laws and legislations about what needs to happen, it’s actually up to each state to decide how best to go about introducing these laws. Each of the 8 states have their own gaming committee and, much the same as the US, it’s up to them to oversee, interpret and uphold the laws set by the national government.
If you are familiar with Australian sports books then you may be aware that some sites still include live betting sections. Whilst this may be puzzling, they actually go via a bit of workaround for this in that if you look closely, they will often ask you to phone a number to place a live bet. This will likely be because they are getting someone to place the bet outside of Australia, before then taking your wager and paying out accordingly. Now this is actually one of the bigger grey areas in the industry and it is argued that it’s technically against the rules, although no bookmaker or punter has actually be prosecuted for this feature.
Over the years a lot of bookmakers have had hard times accepting Australian punters because of them not being able to bet directly on live sports. The likes of bet365 and Betfair have both pulled out of the Australian betting market before re-emerging. The reason behind this is not because of any ban for Australian punters, but mainly because the policing of Australian punters on their site to stop them placing live wagers would be too great.
The main thing to really take from this is that as a punter you wont be breaking the rules when betting in Australia or with an Australian bookmaker as long as you aren’t betting on ‘real-money’ interactive services (essentially, live betting).
The bill was now passed nearly 15 years ago at the time of writing this article and the fact that there are still grey areas as to what can and cant be done shows a certain amount of neglect from the Australian government. The future of the bill looks unlikely to change any time soon although there are politicians trying to lobby a complete ban on gambling. It would seem unlikely that this ever happens however, although there seems like a strong push from the banning of ‘pokies’ (interactive poker machines), which are reported to be one of the biggest reasons why Australian punters tend to go broke.
Are winnings taxable?
There are no taxes on any winnings from gambling in Australia. The country run much the same as that of UK when it comes to taxation and luckily the government see all forms of gambling as luck and more of a pastime than a serious profession.
They make their money from charging tax to that of the operators rather than the bettors, which is handy! The amount in which they charge depends on each state and there is no federal law into what needs to be charged for each, just who needs to be charged.
One of the major advantages of placing wagers in Australia is that you aren’t limited to certain payment methods. You can use pretty much anything you like and whilst there are a number of e-wallets, which we will discuss below, you really can’t beat using credit or debit card.
There are two main reasons why we think that these are the best in the business. The first is that they are accepted pretty much anywhere. Everyone (pretty much) has access to at least a debit card which means you shift your money directly into your sports betting account without having use any third party sites. The second is that these card types often endure the least fees per transaction. You will actually find that most bookmakers don’t charge anything to deposit or withdraw your funds using debit or credit cards and if they do, they will likely be for a nominal fee. The only real downside comes in that the withdrawal processing time is much longer than most e-wallets, but rarely more than 5 working days.
The e-wallet is the increasingly popular way to bank, mainly because you don’t need to include any banking details on a bookmaker. The likes of PayPal, Neteller and Skrill and your three main sites, with their standout feature being speed of their transactions. You will incur larger fees with e-wallets, but nothing that is unmanageable, at least not with these three.