Gambling and betting have been favorite pastimes of Australians just like people everywhere else in the world, and the combination of those with online casino games has made them even more entertaining and attractive. The growing popularity and expanding horizon of online casino games in Australia inevitably called for a greater extent of rules and laws being applied to this industry. Since a majority of these casinos began to deal with real money, the Australian government was motivated to officially regulate online casinos to maintain control as well as to protect the interests and rights of the players and the casino owners. For this reason, it was made necessary for casino games to obtain a license from any of the national or state legalization and regulatory authorities such as the Department of Social Services or the ACT Gambling and Racing Commission.
As a player, you need to know that a majority of online casinos in Australia are legitimately practicing gaming and the reason for that is that Australia had legalized gambling a long time ago, which makes it easier for casino owners to acquire licenses. You must also keep in mind that according to law, a player must at least be 18 years of age to legally take part in gambling activities and play online casino games dealing with real money.
What are the legal casinos?
Legal online casinos are those which have acquired a lawful permit by the regulatory authorities to operate within the country’s premises. This permit is in the form of a license that is issued after certain checks and balances which are carried out to ensure that the casino website has not been and is not likely to be involved in fraudulent or unlawful activities. While most of the casinos you are likely to come across will be licensed, you can explicitly require the customer care services to show you their license permit if it has not been displayed on the website already. In this way, you can identify and steer clear of any illegal casino that might be available online.
Another pertinent factor about legal casinos is that they are very particular regarding the credentials of their registered players. This is because the activities of players directly affect the repute of the casino. Therefore, playing in legal casinos requires you to provide your important details such as your name, date of birth, country and/or area of residence, and bank account details along with proof of your identity which confirms your provided details. It is advised that you take this phase very seriously because any inconsistencies in this matter can lead to serious legal repercussions.
One of the major reasons why Australian legislative authorities have been especially strict towards permitting international online casinos and why they are usually banned from practicing in Australia is that they cannot be regulated as thoroughly as a local casino. This means that there is very little transparency and in the unfortunate event of fraud or dishonest practice, the regulating authorities will not have many ways to protect their citizens’ rights.
But with time, certain international casinos have been legalized to operate in Australia as well. This has been made possible by eCOGRA, which is an internationally approved testing agency. This organization ensures standards of gaming as well as the protection of players’ rights. Hence, the international casinos and gambling sites which obtain their licenses from eCOGRA are permitted by Australian law because it ensures that they maintain a credible reputation and are regularly audited and approved according to internationally recognized industrial standards of safety and security.
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Australian laws regarding online casino
The government has been putting in efforts to regulate the online casino industry as thoroughly and deeply as possible while keeping up with the advancements and developments in the types of games available. These laws are especially effective over the casinos dealing with real money since there is a greater chance of the interests of either casino owners or the players getting exploited. Even though the laws are much more lenient today and grant the players a greater degree of liberty to play casino games online, the first rulings over this subject were much more restrictive. The 1852 Gambling Law prohibited all betting practices in the country, including those related to card games.
However, this conservative nature of gambling laws changed over time as the government observed an increasing inclination of people towards card games and the lucrative prospect of revenue collection that could be done if gambling and casino business was legalized and consequently regulated and taxed appropriately. This lead to the reversal of restrictive laws and the imposition of more accommodative ones. With the introduction and the ensuing rise in popularity of online casinos and gambling, the legislative authorities again grew conscious of the negative consequences attached to this practice. As a result, interactive online gambling was banned all over Australia in the Act of 2001 by the Australian Commonwealth Parliament.
Due to the immense acclamation of online casinos by Australian people, the government had a hard time enforcing these laws and therefore, amendments had to be introduced. According to the 2017 Gambling Act Amendment, online gambling sites and casinos are legally required to get additional licenses that are applicable under certain circumstances and issued only after a thorough check of the site. This protects the players from getting trapped in any malpractices while allowing them to enjoy the wide variety of online gambling sites and casino gaming.
Another major doubt among casino players, especially the beginners, is whether they have to pay taxes over their winning prizes at online casino games or not. In Australia, the taxation and legalization measures apply solely on the owners of casinos and hence, unlike certain other countries, you are not required by the law to pay any excessive taxes on the money you make from a legal online casino or gambling website.
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Benefits of playing at a legal casino
Casino players, whether they are beginners or veterans, are the primary beneficiaries of the legalization and regulation of online casinos. This is because they are the ones depositing their money into casinos and putting their assets at stake when they place their bets. For this reason, if you chose to play at a registered casino instead of an ordinary one, you are securing your assets by making sure that you play at a casino that is licensed and therefore required by law to securely transfer your prize money.
Since legal casinos are regularly audited by licensing authorities, the rules of their games are also more reasonable compared to other casinos. For example, their initial deposits and game charges will be appropriate, and the conditions that are determined for players to win a bonus are more realistic to achieve. This makes legal casinos more profitable for the players; thus attracting more players towards them and providing an incentive for casino owners to get their casinos licensed.
Apart from the many benefits that they offer to the players, legal casinos are very useful and profitable for the country as well. They generate a huge revenue that is collected only due to the collection of taxes that are legitimately imposed on a practice of this huge scale. Numerically, this toll amounts from $12.1 billion to $15.8 billion per annum as of 2011, with 70% of the country’s population taking part in this practice. In this way, the legalization of online casinos proves to be economically beneficial as well and that is another reason why the players should opt for legal casinos when deciding where to play.
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Cons of legal casinos
Even though there are various explicit as well as implicit benefits of legalizing online casinos to the society as a whole and people specifically, there are certain disadvantages of that as well. While it is acknowledged that the cons are heavily outweighed by the pros, it would only be fair to recognize the ill effects of this practice too. When a casino or gambling website has been legalized and recognized as valid by law, it gets accepted in the society. This grants such websites the right to increase their outreach. To do that, these websites have to advertise casino games and especially gambling. When such an activity is advertised on mass media and social media, it is viewed by a wide audience and people of all ages get attracted and inclined towards it. As a result, teenagers and youngsters get sparked with curiosity to try online casino games. Therefore, the legitimization of online casino games can also result in its unintended endorsement in society, which may lead to underage gambling and give birth to other social evils such as theft, greed, and the lust for easy money.
These negative possible effects of legalization of online casinos can, however, be eradicated timely if law-enforcing authorities take appropriate actions and ensure that legal online casinos are only accessed by adults who can legitimately enjoy these games under the umbrella of law.
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