Australia: The Australian Regulatory Landscape for Online Gambling Operators in 2013

Last Updated: 5 March 2013
Article by Jamie Nettleton


In early 2013, Australian gambling law is in a state of flux, particularly given that, first, it is a Federal election year, and secondly, the Federal legislation which prohibits online gambling remains under review. Given these two factors, it is difficult to predict how or whether the law affecting online gambling will change in 2013.


The Interactive Gambling Act 2001 (Cth) (IGA), which prohibits the provision and advertisement of online gambling services (other than wagering and lotteries services, save to a limited extent) to Australian residents, remains the subject of a review by the Department of Broadband, Communications and Digital Economy (the Department) (which is responsible for overseeing the IGA). Whilst the Department published its Interim Report in May 2012, its final report has not been released.

Until the Department's review is completed, whether through the publication of a final report or otherwise, it will be difficult for the recommendations contained in the Interim Report to receive any serious consideration from Australian lawmakers. These recommendations include proposals that the IGA be amended to liberalise online tournament poker for a five year trial period and that online in-play bets be permitted (subject to a prohibition on microbets).

Social Media Gaming

This is one area on which we expect significant headlines this year. The legal position in Australia (which is recognised in the Interim Report) is that games which utilise virtual currency are not prohibited under the IGA because the IGA's definition of "gambling service" is not satisfied, on the basis that virtual currency is not able to be exchanged for real currency.

In early January 2013, anti-gambling politician, Senator Nick Xenophon, announced that he would introduce draft legislation for consideration by the Australian Parliament to amend the IGA to ensure that virtual currency games are prohibited. Senator Xenophon referred to Slotomania in his comments. Senator Xenophon's indicated that his concern is, broadly speaking, that Slotomania and games like it are similar to electronic gaming machines and therefore normalise gambling to their players, who may be children. However, whilst this concern has been given extensive publicity, it remains to be seen whether any changes will be made to Australian law.

Sports Betting: New Entrants

Irrespective of whether changes are made in 2013 to the IGA to remove the prohibition on online in-play betting in relation to sports, it is likely that the sports betting market in Australia, which in 2012 saw the entry of bet365, will continue to grow.

It is likely that other established offshore operators are considering entry into the Australian market, either by seeking their own licence and introducing their brand to the Australian market, or by acquiring an existing operator. (The most recent change relates to the announcement of the proposed acquisition of Sportingbet (which also conducts business under the Centrebet brand) by William Hill.)
It is also possible that other gambling operators that operate in different gambling sectors may also be looking to enter the online wagering space.

Whilst the advantages of the Australian market are clear, and the most often-cited of these advantages are the regulated Australian market as well as a demographic famous for its love of sport and racing, existing and future competitors will be vying for market share and profitability in an increasingly crowded market. Also, difficulties will be faced due to the limited significant marketing opportunities that remain as a result of recent high-profile exclusive sporting sponsorships entered into by local wagering operators (see below).

Advertising/Live Odds

While there has been an increasing amount of media commentary (see "Sports and Sports Wagering" below) about the possible negative consequences of the reported increased advertising spend of Australian licensed wagering operators, few formal legislative measures have been enacted.

This concern was alluded to in a statement by the Prime Minister in January 2012 that, if the wagering sector did not self regulate to prohibit the promotion of live odds during sports coverage, the government would introduce legislation to this effect by June 2012. Wagering operators have since, as an industry, ceased promoting live odds during sports coverage.

There remains extensive media commentary which seeks further controls on the advertising undertaken by wagering operators. As a result, we anticipate that further controls on the manner in which wagering is advertised will be introduced in 2013, whether by way of industry agreement or governmental regulation. Unless the government takes further action in respect of advertising by wagering operators, and/or unless a recommendation in this respect is made by the Department in its final report, we expect that this issue will continue to be regulated at the industry level.

Sports and Sports Wagering

The recent sponsorship of Cricket Australia by bet365 (in place of Betfair), as well as the recent announcement of Tom Waterhouse's sponsorship of the NRL (in place of the TAB), appear to have, perhaps unsurprisingly, prompted considerable commentary during the Australian cricket season criticising the relationship between, broadly speaking, sport and wagering operators.

Not only does this criticism target the promotion of wagering operators' brands on the sports ground and the broadcast of live odds during breaks, but it also focuses on the promotion and availability of "exotic bets". Exotic bets include, for example, in a cricket match, a bet on the team that will win the toss. The argument often made is that, in general terms, promotion of the availability of these bet types will normalise gambling, and, in particular, children will grow up thinking that certain sports simply exist for the purpose of betting.

Given the steady growth of expenditure on sports wagering (whilst expenditure on race wagering is in decline), wagering operators will continue to invest in their relationship with sports. This will no doubt attract criticism expressing concern at the interdependence between sports and gambling. Given that it is an election year, it is likely that continued commentary on these issues, in some cases for perceived political gain, will continue. However, it is difficult to predict whether the government will intervene to introduce further restrictions.


2013 will give rise to substantial press coverage in Australia relating to online gambling, much of which will be negative. However, there is considerable doubt this will give rise to a significant legislative response.

The imminent Federal election will cause the Department's Interim Report and its recommendations to be the subject of public discussion, particularly at the political level. However, despite the Interim Report demonstrating clearly the ineffectiveness of Australia's regulatory position relating to online gaming, the proximity of the Federal election is likely to delay the consideration of the necessary legislative changes required to implement these recommendations.

The assistance of Jessica Azzi, Solicitor, of Addisons in the preparation of this article is noted and greatly appreciated.


1 First published in January 2013 issue of the World Online Gambling Law Report and reproduced with their permission.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Some comments from our readers…
“The articles are extremely timely and highly applicable”
“I often find critical information not available elsewhere”
“As in-house counsel, Mondaq’s service is of great value”

Mondaq Advice Centre (MACs)
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Check to state you have read and
agree to our Terms and Conditions

Terms & Conditions and Privacy Statement (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd and as a user you are granted a non-exclusive, revocable license to access the Website under its terms and conditions of use. Your use of the Website constitutes your agreement to the following terms and conditions of use. Mondaq Ltd may terminate your use of the Website if you are in breach of these terms and conditions or if Mondaq Ltd decides to terminate your license of use for whatever reason.

Use of

You may use the Website but are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the content and articles available (the Content). You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these terms & conditions or with the prior written consent of Mondaq Ltd. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information about’s content, users or contributors in order to offer them any services or products which compete directly or indirectly with Mondaq Ltd’s services and products.


Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the documents and related graphics published on this server for any purpose. All such documents and related graphics are provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers hereby disclaim all warranties and conditions with regard to this information, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information available from this server.

The documents and related graphics published on this server could include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. Changes are periodically added to the information herein. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers may make improvements and/or changes in the product(s) and/or the program(s) described herein at any time.


Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.

Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.

If you do not want us to provide your name and email address you may opt out by clicking here .

If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of products and services offered by Mondaq by clicking here .

Information Collection and Use

We require site users to register with Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to view the free information on the site. We also collect information from our users at several different points on the websites: this is so that we can customise the sites according to individual usage, provide 'session-aware' functionality, and ensure that content is acquired and developed appropriately. This gives us an overall picture of our user profiles, which in turn shows to our Editorial Contributors the type of person they are reaching by posting articles on Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) – meaning more free content for registered users.

We are only able to provide the material on the Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) site free to site visitors because we can pass on information about the pages that users are viewing and the personal information users provide to us (e.g. email addresses) to reputable contributing firms such as law firms who author those pages. We do not sell or rent information to anyone else other than the authors of those pages, who may change from time to time. Should you wish us not to disclose your details to any of these parties, please tick the box above or tick the box marked "Opt out of Registration Information Disclosure" on the Your Profile page. We and our author organisations may only contact you via email or other means if you allow us to do so. Users can opt out of contact when they register on the site, or send an email to with “no disclosure” in the subject heading

Mondaq News Alerts

In order to receive Mondaq News Alerts, users have to complete a separate registration form. This is a personalised service where users choose regions and topics of interest and we send it only to those users who have requested it. Users can stop receiving these Alerts by going to the Mondaq News Alerts page and deselecting all interest areas. In the same way users can amend their personal preferences to add or remove subject areas.


A cookie is a small text file written to a user’s hard drive that contains an identifying user number. The cookies do not contain any personal information about users. We use the cookie so users do not have to log in every time they use the service and the cookie will automatically expire if you do not visit the Mondaq website (or its affiliate sites) for 12 months. We also use the cookie to personalise a user's experience of the site (for example to show information specific to a user's region). As the Mondaq sites are fully personalised and cookies are essential to its core technology the site will function unpredictably with browsers that do not support cookies - or where cookies are disabled (in these circumstances we advise you to attempt to locate the information you require elsewhere on the web). However if you are concerned about the presence of a Mondaq cookie on your machine you can also choose to expire the cookie immediately (remove it) by selecting the 'Log Off' menu option as the last thing you do when you use the site.

Some of our business partners may use cookies on our site (for example, advertisers). However, we have no access to or control over these cookies and we are not aware of any at present that do so.

Log Files

We use IP addresses to analyse trends, administer the site, track movement, and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. IP addresses are not linked to personally identifiable information.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that Mondaq (or its affiliate sites) are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of these third party sites. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this Web site.

Surveys & Contests

From time-to-time our site requests information from users via surveys or contests. Participation in these surveys or contests is completely voluntary and the user therefore has a choice whether or not to disclose any information requested. Information requested may include contact information (such as name and delivery address), and demographic information (such as postcode, age level). Contact information will be used to notify the winners and award prizes. Survey information will be used for purposes of monitoring or improving the functionality of the site.


If a user elects to use our referral service for informing a friend about our site, we ask them for the friend’s name and email address. Mondaq stores this information and may contact the friend to invite them to register with Mondaq, but they will not be contacted more than once. The friend may contact Mondaq to request the removal of this information from our database.


This website takes every reasonable precaution to protect our users’ information. When users submit sensitive information via the website, your information is protected using firewalls and other security technology. If you have any questions about the security at our website, you can send an email to

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user’s personally identifiable information changes (such as postcode), or if a user no longer desires our service, we will endeavour to provide a way to correct, update or remove that user’s personal data provided to us. This can usually be done at the “Your Profile” page or by sending an email to

Notification of Changes

If we decide to change our Terms & Conditions or Privacy Policy, we will post those changes on our site so our users are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it. If at any point we decide to use personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time it was collected, we will notify users by way of an email. Users will have a choice as to whether or not we use their information in this different manner. We will use information in accordance with the privacy policy under which the information was collected.

How to contact Mondaq

You can contact us with comments or queries at

If for some reason you believe Mondaq Ltd. has not adhered to these principles, please notify us by e-mail at and we will use commercially reasonable efforts to determine and correct the problem promptly.