In September 2017, changes were made to Australia’s online gambling laws to clarify the grey areas surrounding the legality of playing at offshore casino sites. While these changes present some big changes for Aussie players, there are still many high quality, reputable offshore casinos continuing to service the Australian market. We explain more about the current status of online gambling in Australia and where it is still safe to play real money casino games online.
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Current status of offshore casino legality
Under the original wording of the Interactive Gambling Act 2001 (IGA), there were plenty of loopholes which made it fully legal for Aussies to gamble online, provided the casino was located overseas. Vendors were not able to operate within our borders or advertise gambling services to Australian players, but if the casino was legally licensed by an offshore gambling jurisdiction there was nothing in the laws of the IGA to make it illegal for the vendor to provide gambling services to Aussie punters. This is where the Interactive Gambling Amendment Bill 2016 comes into play, which was passed in parliament in March 2017 to ensure these loopholes were closed for good. The IGA Amendment Bill finally came into full force on September 13 2007.
The IGA Amendment Bill now states “the legislative amendments will prohibit a person providing regulated interactive gambling services to Australians unless the person holds a licence under the law of an Australian state or territory.” Or in other words, offshore casinos are now prohibited from servicing Australian players, unless the casino has an official license to operate in Australia. You can read more about Australia’s online gambling laws and the IGA amendments here.
The new laws put the focus on operators, but there’s still nothing within the IGA stipulating a penalty or punishment for players who continue to frequent international casinos. As many offshore casinos continue to push the boundaries and welcome Aussie players (which they do so at their own risk), it is up to the player to be fully aware of the laws applying to you and understand you are playing at your own risk. Stick with reputable offshore casinos fully licensed by leading gambling jurisdictions, certified by third-party authorities like eCOGRA and protected by a minimum of 128-Bit SSL (secure socket layer) digital encryption security.
Top five online casinos catering to Australia
Although the introduction of the IGA amendments means it will no longer be legal for offshore casinos to service the Australian market without an Australian license, it is yet to be seen just how many offshore vendors will continue to cater to Australian players. Many reputable vendors who operate within the legal framework of their local gambling jurisdiction are seeing it as a risk they are willing to take, and with little chance of prosecution unless they attempt to enter our borders, it is likely many will continue to service Aussie players. While many major casino brands immediately dropped out of the Australian market, it will be a slow process to see who stays and who goes, and we will update this page regularly to keep players informed of any changes. In the meantime, here are five of the best, safest online casinos still accepting Australian players:
- 1. House of Jack Casino – House of Jack is a new kid on the block in 2017, and we like it for its no-nonsense, fun and youthful approach to online gaming, with the venue hosted by the smooth-talking mascot, Jack the crocodile. House of Jack is suited to a younger generation of players, with reward programs aimed towards VIP and regular punters. House of Jack is a multi-provider casino, housing games from top game studios like BetSoft, Quickspin, Play’n Go, and more, with a sweet little welcome package of $450 in bonus money available for newbies.
- 2. Emu Casino – What’s not to love about a casino site that uses our beloved Aussie emu as its mascot? Emu is a fun, laid-back casino site that makes sure players are well looked after with a large range of casino games, 12 free spins just for signing up and a great sign-up bonus offer for those who chose to play for real money. Emu hosts games from a range of the leading software providers, with all games available download-free directly over your Web browser. Read our Emu Casino review.
- 3. Mucho Vegas – Mucho Vegas is a leading online casino sites licensed by the Government of Curacao, and is happily continuing to service the Australian market. This upbeat online casino offers a huge welcome bonus of up to $1500 in matched deposit bonuses for real money players, as well as access to over 900 casino games from software developers such as BetSoft, iSoftBet, Pragmatic Play, GameArt, 1×2 Gaming and more. Read our Mucho Vegas review.
- 4. Mongoose Casino – This online casino site uses the mongoose as its mascot, following the Tibetan Buddhism belief that this little critter brings luck, fortune and prosperity. Mongoose offers a large selection of online casino games from multiple software developers, with a good range of pokies to choose from, as well as table games and live dealer games for those who want to branch out. New players can claim $3 in free bonus money right off the bat, with no deposit required, followed by a generous matched deposit bonus of up to $200 when playing with real money for the first time. Read our Mongoose Casino review.
- 5. Raging Bull Casino – Raging Bull may not offer the largest selection of online pokies, but the games it does offer add a lot of fun and entertainment to online game play. Aussie players can choose from classic three reel pokies and five-reel video pokies, plus there are blackjack, roulette, video poker and other casino table games to choose from. Sign up and get $50 in bonus money, with no deposit required.
Top five online casinos for international readers
For readers who are located in jurisdictions where online gambling is legal, you have many more choices when it comes to choosing a safe, reputable online casino site. Our top five online casinos that accept players from multiple countries around the globe include:
- 1. All Slots Casino – Powered by leading software developer Microgaming, All Slots may not be the flashiest looking casino but do not let that fool you. All Slots is one of the longest running, most reputable online casinos on the Web, offering a huge selection of pokies, table games, scratchies and live dealer games. Games are available for instant-play or by downloading All Slots premium casino software, and there’s a hefty welcome bonus up for grabs for new players.
- 2. Slots Million – If you’re looking for online pokies, look no further than Slots Million. This vibrant, fun online casino offers over 1,500 real money slot games from all the leading pokies software developers, including the big names like NetEnt, Microgaming, BetSoft and Playtech, plus several smaller, boutique game studios. Slots Million recently added table games, number games and scratchies to its repertoire, and houses the only virtual reality pokies lounge, making this the go-to casino site for all your gaming needs.
- 3. Jackpot City Casino – Another casino that’s powered exclusively by Microgaming, Jackpot City is known for its ongoing supply of promotional offers. On top of the tasty welcome package and one-off bonuses, registered players get access to a daily promotions calendar that offers additional matched deposit bonuses and free spins. Jackpot City offers a range of slots, table games and live dealer games, including the coveted Playboy Bunny live dealer games.
- 4. Royal Vegas Casino – Royal Vegas is another Microgaming-only casino, but it’s one of the longest running and offers one of the largest selections of games and ongoing promotional offers. Once you’ve become a member, check in at anytime to see what bonus offers are up for grabs, with new offers available each week. Royal Vegas has a wide range of pokies, table games, scratchies and live dealer games, with all games available download-free, via mobile apps and via downloadable software.
- 5. Casino.com – Casino.com is our only top-rated online casino powered exclusively by Playtech, and is a great venue to frequent if you’re looking for those major, wide-area progressive jackpot games. Casino.com offers a large selection of online pokies, blackjack, roulette and other table games, with many variants you won’t find elsewhere. Play directly over your Web browser with no downloads required or download Casino.com’s exclusive desktop casino client for PC users.
Online casinos pulled out of the Australian market
The announcement of the passing of the Interactive Gambling Amendment Bill was enough to send several offshore casino sites packing, with some of our favourite online casinos fleeing the Australian market before the laws were even fully introduced. Unfortunately, Aussie players can no longer gamble for real money at trusted casino sites like 32Red, Roxy Palace, Leo Vegas, Thrills Casino, Guts Casino, Royal Vegas, Dunder or Rizk, with more expected to follow suit. Any Aussie players who still have funds deposited at any of these venues are encouraged to withdraw their money as soon as possible.
The casinos which have pulled out of Australia may not be blocked entirely and some will still let you access games for free in practice mode, but Australian players will no longer be able to sign up to play for real money. The only way to play for real money at the casino sites which have jumped ship is to use a VPN (virtual private network) and sign up for an account using a foreign currency – although be aware it is illegal to do so and anyone choosing to go down this path is doing so at their own risk.
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