Sep 29, 2023
7 min read

Gambling and Betting in Australia—A Complete Guide 2024

Learn all nuances about gambling regulations and problem gambling in Australia.

Gambling in Australia, including online wagering, sports betting and lotteries, is strictly regulated and subject to licensing. Therefore, those looking to enter the Australian gambling market need to carefully examine the regulations of the exact states where they plan to operate.

Firms should also pay special attention to responsible gambling policies, as gambling addiction is a problem in Australia, with a recent report finding 184 suicides connected to gambling in Victoria alone.

Now, let’s dive into the world of Australian gambling regulations.

Who’s affected?

In Australia, compliance requirements may differ depending on the state and territory, as well as the nature of the gambling activity. However, in general, the following types of gambling/gaming activities must follow regulations:

  • Casinos. Offline casinos operating in Australia must follow strict regulations and licensing requirements imposed by state authorities.
  • Gaming machine operators. Those who operate gaming machines (“pokies” or slot machines) must also comply with relevant state and territory regulations, including all laws related to the operation and maintenance of gaming machines.
  • Bookmakers, online betting and gambling operators, and other entities offering race and sports betting in Australia must comply with regulations set by individual state and territory authorities, and also by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA).
  • Lotteries and keno operators. Operators of lotteries and keno games must comply with regulations specific to their respective jurisdictions. 
  • Gaming and betting equipment manufacturers and suppliers. Businesses which manufacture, supply, or service gambling equipment (including gaming machines, betting terminals, and software) must comply with regulations governing their industry at the state and territory levels.
  • Charities. Organizations which run fundraising events involving games of chance or gambling (e.g., raffles, bingo) must adhere to specific regulations regarding the conduct of these activities. These regulations may differ by state and territory.
  • Advertising and PR agencies. Companies and individuals involved in promoting gambling services through advertising and sponsorship contracts must comply with regulations regarding the content and placement of gambling advertisements. The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) is responsible for enforcing these rules.
  • Individuals. People who participate in gambling activities must also comply with relevant regulations, including age restrictions and responsible gambling practices.

Illegal gambling activities in Australia include:

  • Casino-style games (like poker, blackjack and roulette)
  • Scratchies
  • In-play betting on sporting events
  • Sports betting services that do not hold an Australian license
  • Betting on the outcome of a lottery

Growth of the online gambling industry

Online gambling in Australia saw an 8% increase from 2020 to 2022, and keeps growing.

More online gambling operators are entering the market, and more people are participating in various forms of online betting, including sports betting, casino games, poker, and more.

Gambling problems in Australia

According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, “gambling is a major public policy issue in Australia, affecting the health and wellbeing of individuals and families in a range of ways.”

Indeed, there’s a number of gambling-related problems in the country:

  • High gambling participation. Australia has one of the highest rates of gambling participation in the world, with a significant portion of the adult population participating in sports betting, poker machines (pokies), casino gambling, and lotteries.
  • Problem gambling prevalence. A subset of the population experiences gambling-related harm, which can manifest as problem gambling or gambling addiction. Studies have indicated that estimated problem gambling prevalence rates are between 0.5% and 1.0%, with a further 1.4–2.1% at risk of problems developing, equating to over 395 000 Australians. Gambling is typically a relapsing remitting condition, with relapse rates around 75%.

This has led to the credit card betting ban  to prevent people in Australia from betting with money they didn’t have.

  • Youth gambling. There are concerns about the increasing prevalence of youth gambling in Australia. Young people are exposed to gambling advertising and may engage in sports betting and other forms of gambling at an early age.
  • Impact on mental health, financial and social impacts. Problem gambling can have severe consequences on mental health, leading to anxiety, depression, and even suicidal thoughts or actions. The social costs of gambling have been estimated at around $7 billion in Victoria alone (Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation, November 2017).

These problems have led to the gambling industry being closely monitored and regulated to keep a balance between consumer protection, responsible gambling, and economic interests.

Who is the regulator?

In Australia, there is no single overarching gambling authority. Each state has its own regulator.

The key responsibilities of state gambling regulators include: 

  • granting licenses
  • monitoring compliance
  • legal enforcement 

Australian Capital Territory (ACT)

  • The Gambling and Racing Commission is the state’s independent gambling authority responsible for licensing, compliance and education.

New South Wales (NSW)

  • The Liquor and Gaming New South Wales (L&GNSW) is responsible for licensing and compliance. 
  • The Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority (ILGA) is an independent institution responsible for a range of casino, liquor, registered club, and gaming machine regulatory functions. Some ILGA licensing functions are assigned to the L&GNSW.

Northern Territory (NT)

  • The Northern Territory Racing Commission (NTRC) is responsible for compliance and licensing.

Queensland (Qld)

  • The Queensland Office of Liquor and Gaming Regulation (QOLGR) grants licenses and monitors compliance.
  • The Office of Regulatory Policy (QORP) is responsible for policy and legislation development for the regulation of liquor, gaming, and fair trading.

South Australia (SA)

  • The Consumer and Business Services (CBS) is responsible for policy, licensing and compliance in relation to betting activities, as well as casinos, gaming machines and lotteries.

Tasmania (Tas)

  • The Tasmanian Liquor and Gaming Commission (TLGC) is responsible for licensing and compliance.

Victoria (Vic)

  • The Victorian Gambling and Casino Control Commission (VGCCC) is an independent gambling authority for licensing and monitoring compliance.
  • The Office of Liquor, Gaming and Racing is responsible for policy, legislation, and regulation.

Western Australia (WA)

  • The Western Australian Department of Racing, Gaming and Liquor supervises all policy, licensing, and compliance matters.

Federal level

At the federal level, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) sets advertising guidelines and regulations regarding the content and placement of gambling advertisements. The ACMA has taken steps to block illegal offshore gambling websites, directing internet service providers to restrict access to these sites.

What are the main regulations?

Online gambling in Australia is regulated at the federal level by the Interactive Gambling Act 2001 (Cth) (IGA) which outlines the general online gambling policy for Australia. However, Australian states and territories independently regulate online gambling in their jurisdiction in accordance with the principles outlined in the IGA.

Land-based gambling in Australia is regulated at state and territory levels. Each of Australia’s eight states and territories independently regulates gambling, gaming and betting activities within their jurisdictions. Below are the relevant regulations for each region. 

New South Wales

  • Betting and Racing Act 1998 (NSW)
  • Casino Control Act 1992 (NSW)
  • Community Gaming Act 2018 (NSW)
  • Gaming Machines Act 2001 (NSW)
  • Public Lotteries Act 1996 (NSW)

Northern Territory

  • Racing and Betting Act 1983 (NT)
  • Gaming Control Act 1993 (NT)
  • Gaming Machine Act 1995 (NT)
  • Unlawful Betting Act 1989 (NT)
  • Totalisator Licensing and Regulation Act 2000 (NT)


  • Breakwater Island Casino Agreement Act 1984 (Qld)
  • Brisbane Casino Agreement Act 1992 (Qld)
  • Cairns Casino Agreement Act 1993 (Qld)
  • Casino Control Act 1982 (Qld)
  • Charitable and Non-Profit Gaming Act 1999 (Qld)
  • Gaming Machine Act 1991 (Qld)
  • Interactive Gambling (Player Protection) Act 1998 (Qld)

South Australia

  • Authorised Betting Operations Act 2000 (SA)
  • Gambling Administration Act 2019 (SA)
  • Casino Act 1997 (SA)


  • Gaming Control Act 1993 (Tas)


  • Casino (Management Agreement) Act 1993 (Vic)
  • Casino Control Act 1991 (Vic)
  • Gambling Regulation Act 2003 (Vic)

Western Australia

  • Betting Control Act 1954 (WA)
  • Casino (Burswood Island) Agreement Act 1985 (WA)
  • Casino Control Act 1984 (WA)
  • Racing and Wagering Western Australia Act 2003 (WA)
  • Racing Bets Levy Act 2009 (WA)

Australian Capital Territory

  • Casino Control Act 2006 (ACT)
  • Gaming Machine Act 2004 (ACT)
  • Interactive Gambling Act 1998 (ACT)
  • Race and Sports Bookmaking Act 2001 (ACT)
  • Racing Act 1999 (ACT)
  • Totalisator Act 2014 (ACT)
  • Unlawful Gambling Act 2009 (ACT)

This is a non-exhaustive list of regulations.

Anti-Money Laundering (AML) regulations

The federal Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Act 2006 is applicable to all territories, and all casinos, betting and gaming companies in Australia must comply with the country’s AML laws.

With the exception of lotteries, gambling and betting companies must:

Suggested read: The APAC Sentinel: Effective Transaction Monitoring Tactics

Gambling operator requirements in Australia

Residence in Australia. Operators wishing to offer their services to Australia gamblers must have a legal entity in Australia, and they must obtain the relevant licenses and authorizations from the regulators. In case the company is foreign, it must appoint a local manager, whose residence would be in Australia, to deal with the competent authorities in the country and have the power to conclude contracts on its behalf.

Bank account. Operators must open a bank account with a bank in Australia to deposit player money. Licensed remote gaming operators will only be allowed to make payments to players through the payment processors approved by the regulator.

Share capital. Operators must follow the requirements regarding the minimum share capital of the company depending on the type of game it offers.

Declaration. A monthly declaration with details regarding income from games of chance, as well as the fees due, has to be submitted to the local regulator.

Regulatory compliance. Compliance with:

  • local state regulations
  • principles of minors protection
  • principles regarding the content of the promotional material and the locations where they can be displayed.

Licensable gambling activities

  • Casinos, including table games and gaming machines (the grant of a casino license is usually subject to a competitive tender process)
  • Lotteries and scratch-lotteries (Currently, just one operator is licensed for all Australian states and territories, except for Western Australia)
  • Keno (conducted in land-based retail venues under separate licenses)
  • Gaming machines, including poker machines or “pokies” (can be operated in casinos, hotels and clubs under license. Some states and territories introduced a limit on the number of gaming machines that can be licensed. In Western Australia, gaming machines can only be legally played in casinos)
  • Betting, including totalizator betting (there is currently one operator licensed to conduct off-course betting—and conduct totalizator betting—in all Australian states and territories, except for Western Australia, where off-course betting is carried out by a government entity)

Eligibility for a land-based gambling license depends on the requirements in the relevant statutes in each state and territory. The application procedure differs in each state and territory.

Persons under 18 years of age can’t participate in any land-based gambling. Operators must therefore ensure all players are over 18.

Online gambling. In general, the Interactive Gambling Act 2001 (IGA) prohibits interactive gambling services. However, it makes an exception for:

  • Regulated interactive gambling services, such as lottery, gaming, wagering and betting with a license
  • Games which are not considered either a banned interactive gambling service or a regulated interactive gambling service and may, therefore, be offered without requiring a license.

Operators  can obtain a license for a regulated interactive gambling service from a relevant state or territory in Australia and, once licensed, can offer its services in all states and territories.


  • Is gambling regulated in Australia?

    Yes. Online gambling is regulated in Australia on a federal level, while land-based gambling in Australia is regulated at the state, territory and federal levels.

  • When did Australia legalize gambling?

    In Australia, the first legal casino was opened in Hobart in 1973.

  • What forms of gambling are illegal in Australia?

    Australia’s main online gambling law prohibits the following activities:

    • online casinos, slot machines, and poker

    • online wagering services that accept ‘in-play’ betting on live sports events

    • online wagering services provided without a license issued by an Australian state or territory

    • online instant lotteries

    • providing or facilitating the provision of credit by certain interactive wagering service providers to their customers.

  • What are the new gambling laws in Australia?

    • Ban on the use of credit cards for online wagering

    • National self-exclusion register for online gambling, called “BetStop”—a service under the Gambling Administration Act 2019. It will allow Australians to ban themselves from all online gambling companies in every state and territory using just one form.