If you choose to gamble online, be aware that not all online gambling services are provided legally to Australians—some are prohibited.
This information helps you to identify services that can be provided under Australian law and where your interests are protected.
Prohibited online gambling services include:
- casino-style games
- slot machines
- 'in-play' betting on sports events
- betting on the outcome of lotteries (‘synthetic lotteries’)
You should only use wagering services licensed by an Australian state or territory. These services are allowed to operate in Australia and are regulated under Australian laws. You can check if a service is licensed on our register of licensed services.
Licensed online wagering services typically provide racing and sports betting services. They do not provide in‑play betting on sports events or betting on the outcome of a lottery—these are illegal in Australia..
By choosing a provider that is licensed by an Australian state or territory, you’re covered by a range of consumer protections.
What are the risks with using an illegal service?
- Online illegal operators will gladly accept your money. But if you happen to win, you may not be able to access the funds.
- When the illegal operators decide to close their services, or move them elsewhere, your money will be gone.
- You may not have many of the important customer protections you expect. For example, if you have a dispute about your winnings or poor player treatment, you may have limited or no options to resolve the matter or get your money back.
- If you decide to stop using illegal sites, you may still be inundated with advertising and bonuses to keep you gambling.
Can I get my money back?
The simple and unfortunate answer is that these gambling providers are operating illegally, and you are unlikely to see your money again.
How can I report an illegal gambling service?
If you think a website is offering illegal gambling services, you can report your concerns to us. Your complaint can be made anonymously.
Under the Interactive Gambling Act 2001, the ACMA may take action to stop illegal online gambling services from being provided to Australians. We may also take action against operators and others for providing these services.
However, our powers do not include taking action on behalf of Australians who have deposited money with gambling sites. This means we cannot assist you with recouping money from these internet gambling services.
Complaints we’ve received
We regularly receive complaints about illegal gambling services. In the first 12 months of our expanded role we received 126 complaints about illegal offshore services. Of these complaints, one third (42) were about customers not being able to access their funds. In many cases, people had found that their accounts were closed after winning, or they were only granted access to a small portion of their winnings.
Other customers had experienced illegal operators continuing to withdraw unauthorised funds from their bank account.
These are examples of real complaints we have received:
I deposited money into my online casino account and quickly won nearly $5,000. I tried to withdraw the money by sending a photo of my MasterCard and passport. As I was doing this, I got logged out and my account was disabled.
I won thousands on my online casino account and as requested I sent through all the documents. The casino replied advising me the ID was not clear and requested I send in another. I did this by sending in my new ID and also had it certified. But the casino advised that my documents have been tampered with and have confiscated my winnings. My documents have not been tampered with, I have provided what was required and had the ID certified also.
To learn more about Interactive Gambling laws in Australia, take a look at our Interactive gambling—Australia’s key rules video.
Read more about what services can be provided to Australians under the Interactive Gambling Act 2001.
If you or someone you know might have a gambling problem, there are services to help manage issues with gambling.
Policy and regulation
Links to more information about gambling regulation in Australia and each state and territory:
Australia—The Department of Social Services
Australian Capital Territory—ACT Gambling and Racing Commission
New South Wales—Liquor and Gaming NSW
Northern Territory—Department of Business, Northern Territory Government
Queensland—Office of Liquor and Gaming Regulation
South Australia—Consumer and Business Services
Tasmania—Department of Treasury and Finance
Victoria—Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation
Western Australia—Department of Racing, Gaming and Liquor