Australian gambling has a long history, going back to colonial days. However, the county’s first legal casino did not open until 1973 in Tasmania. Since then, above-board gambling has proliferated, with lotteries, casinos, pokies, and punting on sports. More recently, online wagering providers have received licenses to take bets virtually.

Horse Racing and Lottery Have Long Histories in Australia

No discussion of Australia’s gambling history can ignore horse racing’s central role in growing the pastime nationwide. Sydney’s Hyde Park saw wagering on the ponies since at least 1810.

In 1861, the Victorian Turf Club began running the Melbourne Cup. Every year, on a Spring Tuesday in November, the two-miler is run by thoroughbreds for a purse of over $8,000,000.

But horse racing is not Australia’s only long-standing gambling tradition. Though private draws go back to the 1880s, government-operated lotteries began appearing in the 1920s. These competitions became large money-makers for state and territorial governments. Taxation from the draws provides a key source of revenue which funds numerous policies and priorities across the country.

Growth of Casinos and Sports Betting

From the first Hobart casino in 1973, sites began springing up around the fringes of the country, with casinos in Alice Springs, Darwin, and Launceston. Soon after, mega-casinos have come to larger cities, with Crown casinos in Sydney, Melbourne, and Perth. But these locations have become troubled, with numerous scandals related to tax payments, money-laundering, and crime.

Meanwhile, Sportsbet received a license to offer bookmaking services in 1993. Even before then, underground betting on footy, rugby, and other sports was prevalent. More companies got coveted sports betting licenses, and punters now have numerous options for placing a wager. Often, the choice comes down to promotions, bonuses, and perk programs run through the sportsbook.

History of Online Gambling

The past two decades have seen the rapid rise of online wagering in Australia. The federal government has repeatedly attempted to crackdown on unlicensed gambling service providers. In 2001, the Interactive Gaming Act (IGA) provided baseline requirements for offering online wagering to any Australian resident. This Act has been built upon and expanded as gambling offerings changed and evolved.

The IGA covers any online gambling, even mobile betting, as well as online casinos, sportsbooks, lotteries, or pokies. Offshore casino websites are prohibited from offering services to Australian customers unless they are licensed by a state or territorial government.

Additionally, the government has created a National Consumer Protection Framework to address problem and underage gambling. The framework puts restrictions on advertising, banking options, and other aspects of gambling (both in-person and online) to help avoid gambling addiction and problematic losses.

Ian Thompson

Poker Expert and Gaming Guru

Ian Thompson, a poker fanatic from his college days, has evolved into a respected connoisseur and writer in the online casino community. At Gamble Online Australia, Ian shares his deep understanding of game strategy and psychology, enriching readers with expert tips and insights.

His self-taught expertise and years of experience make his contributions not just informative but also essential for anyone serious about mastering any casino game.

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