History of Online Betting in Australia
Online gaming and online betting in Australia has come to fruition and since has become a major source of entertainment for many who call Australia home. It's a bit similar to betting sites in the UK; in Australia, almost 80% of adults enjoy someone form of online gambling on a weekly basis, which is an substantial number when considering the gaming act that is in in place does not allow casinos to market their services. Surprisingly, it is the Video pokies that are one of the least popular with only around 4% of adults playing this game of chance.
Online betting has become the major contributing factor as Australian websites provide both national and international sports, horse racing and much more. It is clear that Aussie players prefer traditional forms of gaming and this is evident by the $3 billion from pokies alone.
This is substantial when you consider it accounts for a mere 4% of player preferences. The year 2009 saw that figure increase to $19 billion and the trend of increases continues today.
Australia was one of the first to import online pokies from the U.S. This occurred shortly thereafter they began to appear in the U.S. in early 1900. That might be surprising to some to learn that pokie machines have been in existence for a century NSW was the first state to permit poker machines in 1956 and it is also where the term “pokie” originated.
Eventually they spread throughout Australia and became an accepted form of entertainment by the government. Some states took longer before accepting and allowing wagers due to a focus towards lotteries and betting, but eventually, they became common place and remain so today, albeit in only licensed casinos by the government.
As many would know, the internet changes many things, and one of those was the ease of access to gaming. By the mid 1990’s developers such as NetEnt and Microgaming started creating video pokies, a small number of video poker and table games along with the platforms to allow for real money wagers. Online Sports Books quickly followed and by 2001 the Australian government had enforced an act that allowed these casino games and betting options to become licensed and legal. The law was put in place as a protective measure for players but also as a revenue generating stream.
As the industry took hold, more people made the move to online versus traditional brick and mortar style establishments. The reasons are rather simple, with convenience being one factor and the quality of the games being another. It did not take long for people to see it’s advantageous, especially from a promotional perk perspective, evidence of this is clearly noticed in the $800 million generated in 2010 as a result of those actions. While this is less than land based operators, that number increases yearly and has garnered much attention as a result. Australia is one of the largest markets in the world currently, and that is not expected to change unless the U.S once again makes their environment online gaming friendly.
The number of online casinos available and 3rd party advertisement taking place online has only fuelled growth. Online casinos operating offshore are not governed by the laws of Australia and in recent years it has caused a number of countries such as Australia to make amendments to their gaming acts.
While the act prevents casinos from promoting “real money” games, it does not limited them from promoting games that do not require real money and as a result, increases in player numbers has been evident as most make their way to real money play and the casinos has not breeched laws in the conversions of players.
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The Australian government does identify casino winnings as a professional source of income. This means players from Australia will not be required to pay tax on their winnings however those casinos operating within its borders are subject to business taxation.
What the future holds for betting in Australia is up for debate. While some may like to see it be limited, it is ensconced in the lifestyles of those who visit and make it a viable business. Additional measures may be made to change the act to allow for other income generating taxes, however seeing it made illegal is not something anticipated