You would think that since Australia passed the Interactive Gambling Act in 2001, the online gaming scene in Australia would be something akin to a ghost town. Nothing could be further from the truth. Online gaming is alive and well and thriving in Australia, even as the laws surrounding it are ineffective.
The IGA, for example, makes it illegal for Australian-based online casinos to draw on Australians for customers. Australian-based online casinos can cater to other international customers, but not native Australians. Conversely, Australians have no limitations on being able to play at online casinos that are based in other countries and regulatory jurisdictions.
This is more unfortunate for Australia itself, since there’s a huge potential for untapped revenue available for Australian-based online casinos, and by extension, taxable money for Australian national and state governments.
Technically, the move to sign up Australian customers violates the IGA, but it has stipulated that as long as online casinos exercise “due diligence” in keeping Australians off their sites, then they have not violated the law. The problem is that the law defines due diligence as making Australians aware of a law that they themselves are not breaking by signing up to these casinos, hardly a deterrent.
Before beating your head and screaming about this emperor’s penchant for nudity, keep in mind the purpose behind the IGA and other attempts at controlling online gaming. Australia is one of the leading nations in the world in terms of both average money spent gambling and in terms of gambling losses. Concern over a nationwide gambling epidemic drives much of the discussion over reassessing the existing gambling laws.
Advantages of Online Gambling
In addition to the ease of logging into a website and depositing money from a credit card easily at hand, Australians have many reasons to find gambling online more advantageous than it is in land-based casinos. With the latter comes a whole host of overhead expenses that an online casino does not have to deal with. Dealers, pit bosses, croupiers, not to mention cocktail servers and the like all owe their existence to the land-based casino business model.
Online casinos have no need of any of these, and while customer service and technical support agents do become necessary, similar positions and similar costs exist as well for land-based casinos. Another cost that online casinos avoid is the building and maintenance of both gaming machines and the edifice to house them. This means no energy bills or technicians are necessary.
Consequently, with a significantly smaller overhead, online casinos are able to make a lot profit than their land-based counterparts. This allows online casinos to offer better progressive jackpots and better overall payout percentages on their pokies as well.
For players, you don’t have to deal with the hassle of lines to join in various table games. While land-based casinos offer a plethora of drinks and other complimentary goodies, Internet casinos are able to offer free credits and huge signup bonuses that dwarf anything a land-based casino can muster.
Here are some examples of the massive bonuses that online casinos can offer:
Vegas Palms online casino offers $100 just for signing up for an account and you can also get a 10% boost to your initial deposit.
Royal Vegas online casino makes the Vegas Palms’ bonuses look like small potatoes with a $1200 welcome bonus.
Platinum Play gets you started with 1500 in free bets and an additional 200 in free bets after your initial deposit.
7 Sultans, not to be outdone, offers bonuses of up to $1000.
Many casinos offer deposit bonuses where they add an additional percentage to your first, second or even continuous deposits. One notable aspect of all of these bonuses is that they are not simply free cash available for the taking. Either bonuses come in the form of credits and bets which can only be spent at certain types of games, or they come with a time limit and must be spent within that limit or they’re gone. Bonuses are great attractions for online casinos, but check out the fine print.
New Frontiers and Innovations
Online casinos have also recently added new wrinkles to their games to recuperate some of what is lost in the anonymity of the Internet. Online casinos now can feature live video feeds to actual dealers that players can talk to and interact with, moving the game closer into the social sphere where land-based casinos live.
With all the software at their disposal, online casinos can explore new frontiers of sound and graphics that only could previously exist on the most expensive machines in land-based casinos.
Although gambling online poses distinct advantages, there are also new concerns that open up. In a land-based casino, buying chips and cashing out may occasionally involve a line up to a cashier’s booth, but that’s where the hassle ends in cashing in and cashing out.
Online casinos often allow numerous methods to deposit money into an account. Once it is time to withdraw your winnings, however, it is not uncommon to find a much more limited selection of ways to get your money.
Online casinos can set the deck or dice or roulette wheel any way they want. Since these devices are not real but mathematical simulators, online casinos have the capacity to control how they pay out. However, online casinos benefit as much as customers do in creating a safe and fair gaming environment. They attract more customers by maintaining stability and good reputation for fairness than they would if they went for the maximum profits as much as possible.
Not every online casino operates within the confines of common sense however. One way to know that your choice of gambling website is a safe bet is to find what jurisdiction it reports under, as well as what type of gaming software it uses, and what entities accredit that software. Companies such as Microgaming produce solid and safe gaming software, and eCOGRA is a leader in the accreditation of gaming software.
To keep the Internet gambling industry in Australia safe and thriving, players are advised to only play in safe and established casinos.